How to Vote in Person on Election Day if You Requested a Mail-in Ballot

Elliott Stallion, Unsplash
Elliott Stallion, Unsplash

Election Day falls on Tuesday, November 3, this year, and more than 90 million Americans have already voted. That's thanks to the expansion of early voting and mail-in ballots in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Voting by mail is a safer and more convenient option for many people, but it also requires voters to plan ahead. If you're still waiting for your mail-in ballot, don't panic—there are things you can do to make sure your vote counts this Election Day.

Though the deadline for mail-in votes in most states is Election Day, the USPS asked voters to mail their ballots at least a week before that date to allow time for delivery. That means if your ballot hasn't arrived by November 2, it may be time to come up with an alternate voting plan. Fortunately, requesting a mail-in ballot doesn't disqualify you from voting in person—though depending on where you live, voting won't be as simple as walking into your local polling place.

As ProPublica explains, the protocol for voting in person after requesting a mail-in ballot varies by state. Some states require you to fill out a provisional ballot that will be counted once election officials have determined you haven't voted by mail. You may also need to sign an affidavit stating that you haven't sent your mail-in ballot and submit that with your vote. ProPublica lists the rules of each state here.

If you did receive your mail-in ballot but decide you want to vote in person instead, bring it with you to your local polling place. That way you can exchange it for an in-person ballot and have poll workers dispose of it. You can also do this if you damaged or made a mistake on your mail-in ballot and are afraid it won't be counted. Using anything other than blue or black ink, not filling in the oval fully, and leaving stray marks on the paper are all mistakes that could get your ballot disqualified.

[h/t ProPublica]

A New Ruth Bader Ginsburg Bobblehead Is Available for Pre-Order

The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

The late Ruth Bader Ginsburg was a devout champion for feminism and civil rights, and her influence stretched from the halls of the Supreme Court to the forefront of popular culture, where she affectionately became known as the Notorious RBG. Though there are plenty of public tributes planned for Ginsburg in the wake of her passing, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum has a new RBG bobblehead ($25) available for pre-order so you can honor her in your own home.

There are two versions of the bobblehead available, one of Ginsburg smiling and another with a more serious expression. Not only do the bobbleheads feature her in her Supreme Court black robe, but eagle-eyed fans will see she is wearing one for her iconic coded collars and her classic earrings.

RBG is far from the only American icon bobblehead that the Hall of Fame store has produced in such minute detail. They also have bobbleheads of Abraham Lincoln ($30), Theodore Roosevelt ($30), Alexander Hamilton ($30), and dozens of others.

For more information on the RBG bobblehead, head here. Shipments will hopefully be sent out by December 2020 while supplies last.

Sign Up Today: Get exclusive deals, product news, reviews, and more with the Mental Floss Smart Shopping newsletter!

100 Years Later, the Story of Florida’s Ocoee Massacre—an Election Day Attack on Black Citizens—Is Finally Being Told

Courtesy of Orange County Regional History Center
Courtesy of Orange County Regional History Center

The bloodiest Election Day in the history of the United States is a story many Americans have never heard. On November 2, 1920, the day of the U.S. presidential election, a white mob attacked a Black neighborhood in the city of Ocoee, Florida. Now, the story of the Ocoee Massacre is being told in a new museum exhibition for its 100-year anniversary, the Orlando Sentinel reports.

The exhibit, titled "Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920,” is now on display at the Orange County Regional History Center in Downtown Orlando. It examines what the museum calls "the largest incident of voting-day violence in United States history."

On November 2, 1920, a black labor broker named Moses Norman attempted to vote in what is now Ocoee, only to be turned away when he didn't pay the $1 poll tax. He returned later that day to attempt to vote again, and this time his persistence caught the attention of local Ku Klux Klan members.

Knowing his actions had provoked anger, Norman fled town. A mob of armed white men went to the home of his friend July Perry that night while searching for him. Perry, a fellow labor broker, was 50 years old and had been involved in civic activities like registering more Black citizens to vote. Sha’Ron Cooley McWhite, Perry's great niece, told the Orlando Sentinel that his bravery and activism likely made him a target for white supremacists.

July PerryCourtesy of Orange County Regional History Center

The confrontation at Perry's home led to a shootout and ended with the mob capturing Perry and lynching him. The violence raged in the Black neighborhood throughout the night. By morning, the mob of 250 had burned down 22 homes and two churches and murdered dozens of Black residents.

Like many tragedies suffered by Black communities in U.S. history, the story of the Ocoee Massacre is not widely known. Poor record-keeping and intentional suppression of the news has left historians with an incomplete picture of exactly what happened that night. The Orange County Regional History Center had to collect land records, written reports, and oral histories to recount the event in depth.

"Yesterday, This Was Home: The Ocoee Massacre of 1920” is on display at the Orange County Regional History Center now through February 14, 2021.

[h/t Orlando Sentinel]