Election Glossary

We provide explanations and background information on elections, voting rights and digital democracy

Polling Place

A polling place is a physical location where people go to cast their vote during a federal, state or local election. Typical venues include local schools, churches, libraries and community centers.

Before election day, government agencies like the U.S. Election Assistance Commission publish all necessary information for eligible voters, including details of where polling stations are located in their particular area.

Once inside the polling place, eligible voters give their names and addresses to staff and are issued with ballot papers which contain the list of parties, candidates or options which can be voted upon. In some US states, a form of voter-ID is required for voters to be able to cast their vote. 

One disadvantage of physical polling places is that not everyone is able to attend in person. In such cases, online voting can be helpful in order to include those people who would otherwise be unable to vote, thereby increasing voter turnout in an election. 

See also: postal vote, ballot paper, online voting, absentee ballot

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