Thinking about taking that dream RV vacation but concerned that it falls on an election date? Not to worry. If you’re going to be traveling in an RV while there’s an election it’s still possible to vote. Whether you’re taking a trip that happens to fall over an election period or you’re a full time RVer, you can still take part in voting.
How to Vote if You’re on Vacation During an Election
If you live in a sticks and bricks home and just happen to be taking an RV vacation during an election, you may be able to vote early. Or you can vote by absentee ballot. First, confirm that you are registered to vote. Every state has different voting rules and regulations, so check with your home state’s election office for details.
You’ll want to check to see if you’re registered to vote before your state’s registration deadline. This gives you time to register or change your registration if needed. Some states require you register to vote 30 days before the election. So check your state’s deadlines as early as possible. You can visit usa.gov for more information on how to check your voter registration status and for instructions on how to register to vote.
Early In Person Voting
Once you are registered to vote (or have confirmed that you’re already registered) you can see if your state allows early voting. Forty-six states allow early in person voting, so depending on the dates of your vacation, you may be able go to the polls in person.
Check with your local election office to see if your state allows early in person voting. They will also list important voting dates and regulations. If your state doesn’t allow early in person voting or you’ll already be gone on early voting dates, you can request an absentee voting ballot for your state.
Voting by Absentee Ballot
If you’re already going to be traveling in your RV over the election dates, you can vote by mail via an absentee ballot. Some states allow you to fill out an online request form for an absentee ballot. However, other states may require you to call your county recorder or to mail in a request for a ballot. You can go to vote.org to see how to request an absentee ballot for your state.
Keep in mind that your absentee ballot will be mailed to you, so you’ll need to stay in a location long enough to receive it. Plan ahead to be sure you actually receive the absentee ballot in the mail. Then fill out your ballot per the instructions and mail it in. Keep an eye on the absentee ballot return deadline for your state’s election so you mail it in time.
Important Dates to Know
To make sure you get your absentee ballot in time, you’ll need to know the important dates of your state’s elections. You can visit usvotefoundation.org and choose your state and election level to see the important dates to keep in mind. These include your state’s voter registration deadline, absentee ballot request deadline, and absentee ballot return deadline. You can also check your state or local election office for the deadlines.
How to Vote if You’re a Full Time RVer
Full time RVers will follow a similar process to vote, with a few more steps. The main difference is that you’ll need to have an established domicile. Since full time RVers don’t typically have a sticks and bricks home base, your domicile state is where you have residency. This is the state where you have your driver’s license, file taxes, register your vehicles, have a physical address for mail, and vote. We have an article all about how to establish residency as a full time RVer to help you out.
Once you have set up your domicile you’ll need to register to vote in that state. Depending on the state, you might even be able to register to vote at the DMV when you get your driver’s license. If not, follow the state’s requirements for registering to vote. Then request your absentee ballot as soon as you can to be sure it will be mailed to you in time to vote.
So whether you’re a full timer or just taking a trip, don’t let worrying about how to vote by mail stop you. With a little planing you can make sure that your vote is counted, even when you’re traveling in your RV.