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How to Register to Vote

Register to vote - by AnnaliseArt

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.

Vote button by amberzen

Registration Deadlines by State

State Registration Deadlines Online Registration Election Day Registration
Alabama 15 days Yes No
Alaska 30 days Yes No
Arizona 29 days Yes No
Arkansas 30 days No No
California 15 days Yes Yes and provisional ballot, if in person.
Colorado 8 days Yes Yes
Connecticut 7 days Yes At Election Day Registration office
Delaware 24 days Yes No
District of Columbia 21 days Yes Yes
Florida 29 days Yes No
Georgia 29 days Yes No
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.
Indiana 29 days Yes No
Iowa 10-15 days Yes Yes
Kansas 21 days Yes No
Kentucky 29 days Yes No
Louisiana 30 days Yes (20 days) No
Maine 21 days (mail) No Yes
Maryland 21 days Yes Yes
Massachusetts 20 days Yes No
Michigan 15 days Yes Yes, at your city or township clerk office.
Minnesota 21 days Yes Yes
Mississippi 30 days No No
Missouri 27 days Yes No
Montana 27 days No Yes, at your local election office.
Nebraska 11-18 days Yes No
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
Ohio 30 days Yes No
Oklahoma 25 days No No
Oregon 21 days Yes No
Pennsylvania 15 days Yes No
Rhode Island 30 days Yes Yes (only Presidential Elections)
South Carolina 30 days Yes No
South Dakota 15 days No No
Tennessee 30 days Yes No
Texas 30 days No No
Utah 7 – 30 days Yes (7 days) Yes
Vermont Election day Yes Yes
Virginia 22 days Yes No
Washington 8 days Yes Yes
West Virginia 21 days Yes No
Wisconsin 3-20 days Yes (20 days) Yes
Wyoming 14 days.
Note that the National Voter Registration Form is not accepted in Wyoming.
No No


Remember that – if you are eligible – you can probably register to vote when you get your driver’s license!

Learn how to register to vote and find the deadlines for voter registration in your state

Video by 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

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