Getting registered to vote may seem complicated, but in most cases it's as easy as point, click, print, mail. Here's how you do it:
Get Registered Online.
Get Registered the Old-fashioned Way
Step 2: Complete the voter registration application. When filling out your voter-registration application, be sure to fill out every required field on the form. The main required fields are your full name, street address, date of birth, signature, and date. You may be required to list a political-party affiliation and ID number (if you are not affiliated, list "independent"), but requirements for these fields vary from state to state.
Step 3: Mail in your voter-registration application. In 6-8 weeks you should receive a confirmation of your registration from your state elections office. If you do not receive a confirmation, call the election office to confirm that your registration has been processed.
Get Registered With an Absentee Ballot.If you are not living at home, perhaps because you're at school or serving in the military, you can vote using an absentee ballot. You'll need to request the absentee ballot and mail it in before the election happens?. Each state has different forms, regulations and deadlines.
Visit Rock the Vote's Primaries and Elections Center for state-by-state absentee-ballot information and forms along with important deadline information. Keep in mind you must already be registered to vote in order to vote by absentee ballot.
Frequently Asked QuestionsQ. Is there a deadline for the voter registration form?
A. Yes. Most states have a postmark deadline of 15-30 days before the scheduled election. Idaho, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming all offer same-day voter registration (which allows people to register to vote at the polls on election day) and North Dakota has no voter registration at all. Check your state's deadline and register to vote early.
Q. Do I have to re-register every time I vote?
A.No. Once you are registered you stay registered. If you move, change your name or want to change your political party, you must re-register.
Q. Where is my polling place?
A. Contact your Secretary of State/Elections Division to find out where to cast your ballot on Election Day.
Q. I am a college student. Should I register using my home or school address?
A. You can register at either address - the choice is up to you. Just remember if you choose to register at your home address rather than your school address, check your state's website for the rules about absentee voting. For more information about voting on campus, click here.
Q.Can felons vote?
A. In some states, yes. But rules regarding the voting rights of convicted felons vary from state to state. Call your Secretary of State or Elections Division to find out the specific rule for your state.
Q. I know someone who's mentally impaired/disabled. Can s/he vote?"
A. In most states, if a person has been declared legally "non compos mentis," or "mentally incompetent" by a court of law, that person is ineligible to vote. For more information on how your state defines "mental incompetence," call your Secretary of State or Elections Division.
Q. I just moved to a new state yesterday. Can I register to vote in that state right now?
A. . Residency rules vary. In some states, you are eligible to register to vote in your new state immediately upon moving. In others, you need to wait a certain number of days (usually 30). Check state-specific rules.
Q. I lost my voter registration card. Do I need it to vote?
A. No. Bring a picture ID or a piece of mail with your address on it just in case.
Q. I registered last year but never got my voter ID card. Am I registered to vote?
A. Check with your Secretary of State (link to chart below) to see if you are registered. You may have filled out the form incorrectly or simply not received the card.
Q. Do I need to show identification to vote?
A. First-time voters who register by mail after December 9, 2003, must show identification according to the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Proof of identification varies from state to state. Check your state rules to see what qualifies as identification. If you are not a first-time voter registering by mail, you should check with your state to see if they have any additional requirements regarding identification to vote.
Q. What if I can't make it to my polling place on Election Day?
A. Your state may offer a mail-in or an absentee ballot. Keep in mind you must already be registered to request an absentee ballot or a mail-in ballot. Another option is early voting, which several states are offer. Check with your state to find out all of your options.
Q. What if I go to the polling place on Election Day and they say I am not registered to vote, but I know that I am?
A. Everybody has the right to vote provisionally. This means you can cast your ballot just as you would anyway, but it will enter a special review process through which your registration status is verified. To find out if your vote was counted you will have to contact your Secretary of State/Elections Division.
What To Expect At The PollsYour polling place may be located at a church, school, fire station, library or community center. States typically mail out information listing the location of your polling place, but if in doubt, contact your state's Board of Elections and they will provide that information. Generally, the polls are open between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m., click here for the opening and closing times for your specific state.
When you get to your polling place, you will probably need to wait in line to check in. The poll worker will ask for your name to see if you're on the list of registered voters in your area. In most states, you need to register to vote ahead of time, click here to see how early you need to register.
Depending on your area, you may be asked to show a valid photo ID with your name and address at which you are registered, or a photo ID and proof of residency (for example, a utility bill, pay stub or other government document with your current address). You can check the ID requirements for your state by calling your Board of Elections or going to your state's website.
After your residency has been confirmed, you will sign your name on a list and (depending on the state) you may be handed a ballot to mark your votes on. Since different states have different ballots, make sure to ask a poll worker exactly how your ballot works if you aren't already familiar with it. Polling places are set up to accommodate everyone, so there should be wheelchair access and services offered for all disabilities. If you need any of these services, ask one of the poll workers.
You will then go to a small booth with dividers, which keeps your voting experience private. Information on how to work the voting machines should be posted inside your voting booth. If you are unsure how to work the voting machine ask one of the poll workers to assist you. Inside the booth, mark your selection on your ballot. When you are finished, a poll worker may check your ballot to make sure that it correctly shows your votes (for example: that holes were punched correctly if your location votes using a punch-card ballot).
When you are finished, you will place your ballot in a sealed box where the ballots are collected - and at the end of the day, your vote will be counted!
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