Am I Registered to Vote? How to Find Out.
In the rush of everyday life, some of us might not be sure whether or not we're registered to vote. Fortunately, it's easy to find out — and easy to register if you haven't yet.
Organizations such as Vote.org and the National Association of Secretaries of State have websites that, once you plug in your name, address, and date of birth, will let you know whether you're registered to vote in your state.
If you're registered, you should be able to vote in the next election without any problem. If you're registered but find out that the information on your registration (like an old address) is incorrect, you'll have to ask your local elections office to update your information.
Registering to Vote Is Easy
If you're not registered, there are quick and easy ways to get that done. Processes and rules vary slightly from state to state, but overall the process of registering is pretty uniform. Twenty-three states plus the District of Columbia feature election day registration, which lets qualified citizens register to vote and cast a ballot on the same day. You do not have to identify your political party to vote in a general election.
The National Voter Registration Act requires that most states offer registration at DMV offices or other agencies designated by the state. Prior to the last presidential election, about one-third of new registrations took place at such “motor voter" sites.
Can I Register Online?
Right now, 42 states plus the District of Columbia allow their citizens to register by the registration deadline online. Oklahoma is in the process of implementing online registration for upcoming elections. Maine enacted online registration in July 2021. and expects to have it implemented by 2023. The six states that don't have or are not in the process of implementing online registration include:
If you live in one of the states that don't have online registration, you can download the National Mail Voter Registration Form, which is available in any of 15 languages via the U.S. Election Assistance Commission. This voter registration application can be filled out on your computer screen, or you can print it and fill it out by hand. Once that's done, you can mail it to the election office specified for your state. Make sure to include a proper mailing address with your voting information.
Where Can I Register to Vote in Person?
Many states allow you to register to vote at your polling place. You can also register to vote in person at your state or local election office, or at a number of public facilities, including post offices, armed forces recruitment centers, public assistance offices, and departments of motor vehicles. Remember to bring your driver’s license. Not all these offices in every state provide this service, so call before you stop by to register, or check with the secretary of state.
How Do I Register If I'm Away From Home?
For citizens in the military and/or overseas, The Federal Voting Assistance Program allows you and eligible voters in your family to register to vote and request an absentee ballot. The same applies if you're attending college in a state other than the one you're from.
Can I Change My Voter Registration Information?
Your voter registration record does not automatically update when you move addresses. You will need to register again with your new address. Most states allow you to register online, but there are several states that require mail-in or in-person registration (see "Can I Register Online" above). For those states that allow online registration, you can also check your voter registration status online.
Is My Voting Information Public?
Your voting information may be accessible to the public in your state. Required fields may include your birth date and contact information. A P.O. Box is generally not permitted.
In certain instances, registered voters need not provide information that is accessible to the public. For example, victims of domestic abuse may be able to participate in an address confidentiality program that would keep their information private.
Are Disabilities Accommodated?
People with disabilities can still vote for elected officials. Polling places are generally accessible to people who need to be accommodated. Election officials at your polling place can help you.
Who Can't Register to Vote?
State laws vary on who can and cannot register to vote. You generally must be a citizen over 18 years of age to vote in state and federal elections.
You might also be barred from voting for a period of time if you've been convicted of a felony. Many states restore voting rights to people as soon as they leave prison, while others keep voting restrictions in place while offenders are on probation or parole. Others require that ex-offenders submit a formal request to have their voting rights reinstated. Naturally, once your voting rights are once again intact, you may register as normal if you haven't already.
If you have questions on whether you are registered to vote or want to know more about the process speak to an election law attorney near you.