The Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project, which I am part of, issued an advisory PDF titled “Making Sure That Your Vote Is Counted In 2020.”

The full text is below:

Making Sure That Your Vote Is Counted In 2020

The 2020 presidential election is the first in a century to be conducted during a global pandemic, and in most states eligible voters may encounter new and different ways of registering to vote, requesting and obtaining their ballots, and returning their ballots or voting in person.

In recognition of these changes, the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project offers these five important suggestions, based on our two decades of research, to help Americans exercise their right to vote in November 2020.


Refer to for state-specific details on registration deadlines and on how to register to vote.


Determine what will be on your ballot, and practice voting with a “sample ballot,” as a way to reduce errors. If you go to vote in person, bring your marked sample ballot to the polling place or vote center to guide you when you vote.


Voting methods differ across the states, so contact your state or local election officials for details about your options. Likely options are:

  • Vote in person early or on Election Day
  • Mail in ballot or absentee voting


  • If you return your ballot by mail, make sure to follow all instructions on the ballot and envelope and drop it off at a USPS location as soon as possible.
  • If you can return your mail or absentee ballot at an official “dropbox,” make sure to follow the instructions on your ballot and envelope.
  • If you vote in person early on Election Day, try to go mid-morning or mid-afternoon, bring your sample ballot, and bring your PPE.
  • If your local or state election officials provide the means to track your ballot, check to make sure your ballot was received and tabulated.


  • There may be lines when you drop off your ballot or vote.
  • The results of this election may be delayed on Election Night.

What is the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project?

The Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project (VTP) was formed in the immediate aftermath of the 2000 presidential election to help find scientific and technological solutions to the problems that arose in that election. The VTP includes researchers and scholars from Caltech and MIT, as well as other universities, from a diverse set of disciplines, including computer science, mechanical engineering, operations research, political science, and human factors research. In the two decades since our formation, we have continued to engage in our scientific and technological research, to build collaborations with election officials, policy makers, and the private sector.

You can learn more about the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project at our website (

The members of the Caltech/MIT Voting Technology Project who support the guidelines in this advisory are:

VTP Co-Directors:

  • R. Michael Alvarez, Professor of Political and Computational Social Science, Caltech
  • Charles Stewart III, Kenan Sahin Distinguished Professor of Political Science, MIT

VTP Faculty and Affiliates:

  • Enka Blanchard, Researcher, University of Lorraine
  • Stephen C. Graves, Abraham J. Siegel Professor of Management, MIT
  • Jonathan N. Katz, Kay Sugahara Professor of Social Sciences and Statistics, Caltech
  • Seo-young Silvia Kim, Assistant Professor, American University
  • Ronald L. Rivest, Institute Professor, MIT
  • Ted Selker, Research Professor, UMBC
  • Alexander Slocum, Walter M. May and A. Hazel May Professor, MIT
  • Michael Specter, Ph.D. Candidate in Computer Science MIT

Colleagues in the Election Administration and Election Science communities who support the guidelines in this advisory are:

  • Betsy Sinclair, Washington University in St. Louis
  • C. Mara Suttmann-Lea, Connecticut College
  • Costas Panagopoulos, Northeastern University
  • David C. Kimball, University of Missouri-St. Louis
  • David Darmofal, University of South Carolina
  • Douglas M. Spencer, University of Colorado
  • Gregory A. Huber, Yale University
  • James N. Druckman, Northwestern University
  • Jason Roberts, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Jennifer N. Victor, George Mason University
  • Joseph Biaggio, Phillips Penn State University
  • Kelly D. Patternson, Brigham Young University
  • Lia Merivaki, Mississippi State University
  • Lisa A. Bryant, California State University, Fresno
  • Lonna Atkeson, University of New Mexico
  • Michael J. Hanmer, University of Maryland
  • Paul Gronke, Reed College
  • Rachael Cobb, Suffolk University
  • Robert Stein, Rice University
  • Robert Y. Shapiro, Columbia University


Art by Brittany Long Olsen ( This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.

Please feel free to distribute the link to this repository or the pdf/artwork. Please do not alter the advisory nor the art. Thank you very much!