The ‘need to knows’ of registering to vote
Election Day is right around the corner. If you have not already, make sure your voter registration is taken care of to ensure your voice is heard. Follow these guidelines and start making a difference.
Deadline to register
Deadlines for voter registration are all over the map. In many states you need to register at least 20 days before heading to the voting booth.
Rules for registering
Most states offer voter registration in person or by mail. Depending on your state, you may be able to print your registration form from a website or pick one up in person from the department of motor vehicles, local board of elections office, post office, library or other locations designated by state officials.
About four-fifths of all states either use or are in the process of taking advantage of the internet to simplify the voter registration process.
According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, nine states have yet to offer online paperless registration. The holdouts are: Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.
Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina and Oklahoma have acted since November 2019 to implement online voter registration.
Who can vote?
As long as you’re 18 or older, an American citizen, and a resident of the state where you’re planning to register, you have an equal chance to decide who you want to run your country, your state, your region and your town.
Where to vote?
After you have completed and returned your registration form, the state will mail out details about your polling place. Some states will send a voter registration ID card, which you may be required to show at the polls. Other states require a photo ID when voting.
Many states also offer advance voting, voting by mail and absentee voting. Learn more about advance voting changes because of the COVID-19 pandemic on Page 55. LL