During the height of the election 2016 and after registration dates had come and gone, I was contacted by several people wanting to know how they could register. Once the deadlines have passed, you can't. Fortunately, many people do register and don't realize it. My dad happened to be one of those people.
Dad had not voted since he voted for Kennedy. However, knowing my dad like I do, I thought he may have registered at the BMV without realizing he had done so. Within a couple of minutes, I went to Can I Vote, clicked on Voter Registration, and selected our state and Confirm My Voter Registration. Sure enough, he was registered and was able to join me (first time voting Republican) and my son (first time voting ever) where he would cast his first ballot since he voted for Kennedy.
Never assume you are registered to vote or that your registration is current. Click the available links below to confirm all your information to ensure you are able to go to the polls without issue and cast your vote.
Register to Vote and Confirm or Change Registration
Voting Rules Are Different in Every State
Federal and state elections in the United States are run by the states themselves, according to Article I and Article II of the Constitution. No two states run their elections exactly the same, so contacting your state or local election office is the best way to find out about your state’s unique election rules.
If you need to register to vote, visit Vote.USA.gov. Depending on your state’s voter registration rules, the site can help you
- Register online. This is available for 31 states plus the District of Columbia.
- Download the National Mail Voter Registration Form (PDF). You can fill it out onscreen and print the completed form, or print the blank form and fill it out by hand. Remember to sign the form before mailing it to the location listed for your state.
Register to Vote in Person
You can register in person with your state or local election office. If it’s more convenient for you to register elsewhere, you can check with one of these nearby public facilities to see if you can register to vote there:
- The department of motor vehicles
- Armed services recruitment centers
- State and county public assistance offices (SNAP/food stamps, WIC, services for the disabled), where you may fill out and submit a National Mail Voter Registration Form.
Overseas and Military Voters
If you’re a U.S. citizen living outside the U.S., or if you’re a service member, service member’s spouse, or eligible family member, you can register to vote and request an absentee ballot through the Federal Voting Assistance Program.
Register to Vote in Other Languages
- The National Mail Voter Registration Form, which you must print, complete, sign, and mail to the location listed for your state, is available in Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
- Voter's guides, which include information on registering to vote, are available in Cherokee, Chinese, Dakota, Japanese, Korean, Navajo, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Yupik.
Who May Have Problems Voting Due to State or Local Requirements?
- People who don’t present the types of Voter ID required in their state
- People who have changed their name or permanent address and have not updated their voter registration
- People whose name or address on their Voter ID doesn’t match the name or address on their voter registration
- People who go to vote on Election Day at a polling place that is not their assigned polling location
Who May Have Problems Voting Due to Logistics?
- Voters with disabilities or language barriers. Make sure you know your rights and the options available to help you vote.
- Voters who can’t get to the polls on Election Day. Whether you live overseas, have a disability or injury limiting your mobility, are traveling for business, or attend college out of state, be sure you’re aware of the options available to you for Absentee and Early Voting.
Check or Update Your Voter Registration: How, When, Why
If You’ve Recently Registered to Vote
If you’ve recently submitted a voter registration application, wait a few weeks for your voter registration card to arrive in the mail.
- If there’s a problem with your application, you will be notified.
- If you don’t receive any response, check with your state or local election office.
How to Check or Update Your Registration Information
- Check your registration information, including your name, address, and political party, online at Can I Vote.
- You may be able to update your registration information at Can I Vote.
- You may have to register to vote again to update your registration information.
- Contact your state or local election office for other ways to verify and update your registration information.
Why You Should Check Your Registration Information
- To ensure your information is up to date if you’ve moved or changed your name and aren’t sure you updated your registration
- To ensure your registration wasn’t mistakenly purged by your state