To understand the process for registering to vote, checking voter registration, and changing the address on a voter's registration.
Who Can Vote/Cannot Vote
- In order to vote in the U.S., a person must be a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years of age, meet state/local residency requirements, and be registered by election day guidelines per state. Note that North Dakota does not require voter registration.
- Persons who cannot vote include non-citizens, those with some felony convicitons, and some who are mentally incapacitated.
- U.S. citizens living in U.S. territories may not vote in the Presidential general election.
Register to Vote
- Voters can register to vote online, through the mail, or in-person depending on state voter registration rules.
- Currently 37 states and the District of Columbia allow online voter registration through the state's online registration portal. In order to take advantage of online registration, most states require a state driver's license or a state issued ID. Validation occurs by comparing the information provided on the voter registration to the information on the state driver's license or state issued ID.
- Voters can register to vote, make name changes, or address changes by using the National Mail Voter Registration Form. The form can be filled in online and then printed and mailed to the state election office. State specific instructions, including registration deadlines, are given at the bottom of the form. It is accepted by all states expect New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wyoming.
- In-person registration can be done at state and local election offices, the department of motor vehicles, armed forces recruitment centers, and state assistance offices such as SNAP/TANF and WIC.
- U.S. citizens living overseas or members of the military can register to vote or request an absentee ballot through the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
- The legal voting age in the United States is 18, however many states allow voters to preregister or register to vote as early as age 16.
Verifying Voter Registration
- Voter registration can be verified online through the NASS website, U.S. Election Assistance Commission, or state/local election office websites.
- To verify registration on the NASS Can I Vote website, select voter registration and the state. Voter's will be redirected to their state Secretary of State website.
- On the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website, voters can select their state on the map or use the drop down menu and then select state election office website to be redirected. This site also provides upcoming key election dates.
- Voters can also check registration status through their states website. The website can be found here or here.
Voter Identification Requirements
- Currently 35 states require some form of identification in order to vote.
- The types of identification vary by state. There are 17 states as of 2019 that require a photo identification.
- In addition, states may have different identification requirements for first time voters.
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