Many Americans are not Registered to Vote
In the 2016 national election in the United States, about half of the voting-age population showed up to vote for the next president. A high voter turnout by American standards, but a number that lags behind many of the developed nations around the world.
USA is different from many other countries because states require you to register before you can vote.
Every citizen of the United States who is at least 18 years of age may register and vote, but the rules vary between States and the process is not always as easy as it should be. North Dakota is the only state that does not require a voter registration.
Other States require you to register at least 30 days before you can vote and only allow in-person registrations or registrations by mail. This is true in a State like Texas.
To vote in Texas, you must visit a registration office or pick up a voter registration application, fill it out, and mail it at least 30 days before the election date.
To vote in Utah or Nevada you can go online a week before the election and register.
Why You Should Register to Vote
After you completed your registration to vote, you can vote for the president, congressional representatives, and U.S. senators. You can also vote in your state and local elections.
Every person who is eligible to vote should register.
You may always decide not to vote in an election. But if you make a last-minute decision to vote and haven’t registered, it may not be possible to vote.
It’s like using a safety belt. Most of the time it doesn’t really make a difference, but when you need it – it is there for you!
Think of elections the same way. Even if you don’t like politics and don’t usually vote – someday you might think it is really important.
And perhaps the Presidential Election this fall (2020) is just one of these elections that are important enough for you to participate in.
Take the chance to make your voice heard by registering to vote. Don’t wait until the last minute.
Registration Deadlines by State
|State||Registration Deadlines||Online Registration||Election Day Registration|
|California||15 days||Yes||Yes and provisional ballot, if in person.|
|Connecticut||7 days||Yes||At Election Day Registration office|
|District of Columbia||21 days||Yes||Yes|
|Hawaii||30 days||Yes||Yes, in person.|
|Idaho||24-25 days days||Yes||Yes, in person.|
|Illinois||16-28 days||Yes||Yes, in person at Location Election office.|
|Louisiana||30 days||Yes (20 days)||No|
|Maine||21 days (mail)||No||Yes|
|Michigan||15 days||Yes||Yes, at your city or township clerk office.|
|Montana||27 days||No||Yes, at your local election office.|
|Nevada||5-28 days||Yes (5 days)||Yes|
|New Hampshire||6-13 days||No||Yes|
|New Jersey||21 days||No||No|
|New Mexico||28 days||Yes||No (not until 2021)|
|New York||25 days||Yes||No|
|North Carolina||25 days||Yes||Only if qualified less than 25 days before Election day.|
|North Dakota||No voter registration||–||–|
|Rhode Island||30 days||Yes||Yes (only Presidential Elections)|
|South Carolina||30 days||Yes||No|
|South Dakota||15 days||No||No|
|Utah||7 – 30 days||Yes (7 days)||Yes|
|West Virginia||21 days||Yes||No|
|Wisconsin||3-20 days||Yes (20 days)||Yes|
Note that the National Voter Registration Form is not accepted in Wyoming.
Remember that – if you are eligible – you can probably register to vote when you get your driver’s license!
Video by votesaveamerica.com. Learn how to register, make sure you’re still registered, and learn what you need to vote on November 3rd.
Vote: illustration by Annalise Batista.
Read more: Prevent Your Mail Ballot from Being Rejected