Still in line when the polls close?
Don’t worry: You can keep waiting and cast your ballot, experts say.
“It’s one of the most basic principles of electoral democracy: if you go to the polls when they are open, and you are a registered and qualified voter, then as long as you wait in line, you are entitled to cast your ballot even if the line is so long that you must wait until after the scheduled time for the polls to close,” Ned Foley, who teaches election law at The Ohio State University, wrote in a post for Medium before the 2016 presidential election.
Carolyn DeWitt, president of Rock the Vote, confirmed that information in an interview with The New York Times.
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“If you are in line when the hours of operation close, they are required to stay open and allow you to vote — so do not get out of line,” she said, according to the newspaper.
CBS News also reported that “regardless of when polls close, state laws require that everyone waiting in line can still vote.”
“If you are in line to vote when the polls close, stay there,” according to a recent Business Insider article. “States have laws requiring people be allowed to cast their ballots if they were in line.”
It’s an issue that came up in 2016, when polls in Nevada were kept open for hours after they were supposed to close for early voting because of long lines, according to Rolling Stone. The Donald Trump campaign sued over that, but a Nevada judge threw out the lawsuit.
Long lines have been reported throughout the country, including some areas of Georgia, New York City, Indiana and Texas, according to The Associated Press.
“Americans are hungry for democracy and are turning out in record numbers to vote,” reads the group’s website. “But that means long lines and sometimes empty stomachs, which might discourage these brave patriots from performing their civic duty.”