If the Polls Close While You’re Still in Line to Vote, Don’t Leave

Just stay put.
Just stay put. / Hill Street Studios/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Election Day is November 8, 2022—and the number of early voters casting ballots ahead of Tuesday's midterm elections has already broken records in some states.

While the increased voter turnout is a wonderful example of democracy in action, it could mean that people who have waited until Election Day to vote could be faced with some long lines and wait times. So what should you do if you’re stuck at the back of the line when your polling place closes? You stay right where you are.

If you didn't take advantage of your state's voting time-off laws to cast your ballot during the workday (if your state has them, that is), there's a good chance you'll be caught in an after-work crush. But don't despair! As long as you are in line at closing time, you have a legal right to vote—so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In fact, if someone does attempt to force you to leave, you are encouraged to call a voter protection hotline (such as 1-866-OUR-VOTE) or submit a complaint to the Department of Justice (1-800-253-3931).

These hotlines are also available to help you if you witness acts of voter intimidation or discrimination. As they say: If you see something, say something!

This story has been updated for 2022.