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Can You Vote If Your ID Is Expired? Don't Panic Just Yet

It's Election Day! (Almost.) You wake up, ready to vote, and grab your identification card so you'll be able to vote at your polling place. But then you realize your ID is totally expired and start wondering: can you vote if your ID is expired? Well, it varies. Here's what you need to know.

For starters, it's worth noting that the most convenient and efficient thing to have is probably always going to be an ID. It's quick, easy, and cut and dry. So in the event that you have an expired ID, first make sure that you don't have a back-up option. This, of course, seems really obvious, but you'd be surprised how easy it is to forget such a thing when you're caught up election jitters. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), you can also use a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, and military ID to vote in most states. But there are some states that don't require having photo ID at all. Click here to see how your state's requirements.

If you find you do need a photo ID, you may run into some trouble in states like Indiana, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and Wisconsin — as those states have strict photo ID laws requiring you to present valid photo identification. There are some exceptions, however, like if a natural disaster prevented you from getting your ID renewed. In that case, according to, you'll have to sign a sworn statement justifying why you don't have valid ID and bring along another document for verification, such as a birth certificate or government check. But that's only in certain places. Head here to see how or if you can get around not having proper identification in your state.

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Not in those states? You might be able to use non-photo identification such as a bank statement with your name and address, or a utility bill. States like Ohio and Arizona are just a few that'll allow you to do so. Check the regulations of your state here.

In case that all fails, you might be able to fill out a provisional ballot. Some social media users have recommended telling poll workers this as a back-up plan: "Give me a provisional ballot with a receipt as required by law when requested." According to fact-checking site Snopes, although states vary in how they handle them, federal law actually requires that election officials to provide "ineligible voters" with provisional ballots, according to Section 302 of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). But as a heads-up, you should know they aren't exactly cast the same as a standard ballot. They're held separately from the others until after the election so they can be checked for eligibility, and you may have to follow up with your board of elections in order to get your ballot counted. In this particular case, you may be given a deadline to get a new ID and present it to them within a few days of the election, but you've gotta be speedy about it because your ballot won't count until the problem is resolved.

As a final tip for future reference: your ID usually expires on your birthday, so if you try making a habit out of kicking off your birthday festivities by checking your ID, you might be able to avoid this later! It's probably a little depressing to see the age going up, but hey, it's either that or you risk your vote.

Happy Election Day, and good luck!