Faq

Registration

1. I moved. Do I have to re-register?

Yes. If you haven’t registered to vote at your new address, be sure to register to vote again, and don’t forget you now have a new polling location.

2. How do I register to vote?

You can register right here or pick up a mail-in form at your local post office, DMV, public assistance agency, armed services recruiting office, or *library. *Note that not all states offer registration forms at libraries.

3. What's the deadline to register?

Registration deadlines vary by state. Click here to find registration deadlines in your state.

4. How do I find out if I’m registered to vote?

Find out about your registration status by clicking here and getting contact information for your local county elections officials. Some elections officials allow you to check the status of your voter registration on their website, by telephone, or both.

5. What if I accidentally register twice?

No worries. In most cases, the latest submission is what’s on record.

6. How do I register from abroad?

Visit the Overseas Vote Foundation for information on how to vote if you’re a U.S. citizen living abroad or in the military.

7. What name should I use if the name on my ID is different from the one on my birth certificate/social security card?

Use your current legal name, which should be the name on your state ID card.

Eligibility

1. Who's eligible to register to vote?

In Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Maryland, North Carolina, and Rhode Island, you can register to vote if you’re at least 16. In Louisiana, Maine, and Oregon, you can register at 17. In every state except Alabama, Idaho, and North Dakota, you can register if you’re 17 but will be 18 for the next general election. Click here for a full listing of state-by-state voter registration guidelines.

2. When can I vote?

In all states, you must be at least 18 years of age on or before Election Day and a U.S. citizen to vote.

3. Can I register to vote if I have a felony? 

Felony voting rights vary by state. For more information on felon voting rights by state, click here.

Absentee and Early Voting

1. What is early voting?

Early voting takes place in person before Election Day at election offices and (in some states) other satellite locations. Thirty-two states and the District of Columbia offer "no excuse" early voting, where voters do not need to provide a reason for voting before Election Day. A handful of states offer early voting only to voters who have a valid excuse for being unable to vote in person on Election Day. Early voting is sometimes called early in-person voting, in-person absentee voting, one-stop voting or advance voting.

2. How do I vote early?

Long Distance Voter is a great resource for all your early voting and absentee needs. You can order your absentee ballot through Long Distance Voter. Check here for your state’s rules on early voting. You may be eligible to vote prior to the election as an absentee or early voter. State laws vary greatly, so be sure to pay attention to the information provided by your election officials, or contact your local election office for help. For information about absentee and/or early voting click here.

3. What is an absentee ballot?

Absentee voting is a ballot casted by mail and is allowed with no excuse in 28 states and with an excuse in 22. No-excuse permanent absentee voting is allowed in 4 states. Click here to find out what your state guidelines are for voting absentee.

4. How do I register as an absentee voter?

First, you must make sure you are eligible to vote by absentee ballot by clicking here to find out what your state guidelines are. Then, you must fill out the official Vote-By-Mail Application in your state and mail, fax, or hand-deliver it back to your County Elections Official. Once it’s processed, you’ll receive an absentee ballot in the mail when they’re distributed. You can also submit a written request to vote absentee to your County Elections Official. The request must contain (1) your name and residence address as stated on your registration card, (2) the address to which the vote-by-mail ballot should be sent—if different than your registered address (3) the name and date of the election in which you would like to vote by mail and (4) the date and your signature. California is one of the only states in the nation that offers permanent absentee status to all voters. You can use the California absentee ballot application to sign up to be on the permanent by-mail voter list.

5. Where can I get an absentee ballot?

An absentee ballot will be mailed to you at least 10 days before voting day once you register to vote absentee. Click here for information about voting by mail.

6. What's the difference between early voting and absentee voting?

Early voting usually refers to in-person voting at a designated location where a voter casts their ballot using a voting machine between the close of registration and Election Day. Absentee voting is done by mail and eligibility varies by state. Some states require a reason or excuse to vote absentee, such as being disabled, traveling for work, etc. Other states, like California, permit any voter to register to vote absentee. Some states allow you to vote absentee for every election ("permanent absentee"), while others require voters to apply for each election in which they want to vote absentee. The term 'Vote By Mail (VBM)' tends to refer to elections in which ballots are mailed out to everyone and there are no polling places (although there may be drop boxes and usually the county elections office is open to handle in-person problems).

Election Day

1. When is Election Day?

November 6, 2012

2. What time can I vote?

Identification requirements vary by state. In every state, if you are voting for the first time after registering by mail and did not provide your driver's license number, a state identification number or the last four digits of your social security number on the registration card, you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls. Find out what to bring by clicking here and selecting ‘Know What Kind of ID to Bring.’

3. What should I bring to vote?

Identification requirements vary by state. In every state, if you are voting for the first time after registering by mail and did not provide your driver's license number, a state identification number or the last four digits of your social security number on the registration card, you may be asked to show a form of identification when you go to the polls. Find out what to bring by clicking here and selecting ‘Know What Kind of ID to Bring.’

4. How do I locate my polling location?

Your polling location should be listed on your voter registration card or the sample ballot that was sent to you. If you did not receive one in the mail, click here and select ‘Find Your Polling Place,’ or contact your local County Elections Official.

Overseas and Military

1. How do I register to vote if I live abroad or am in the military?

If you are an American citizen living abroad or a uniformed military voter, click here to register to vote and request an absentee ballot.

Voting as a Student

1. Do I need to re-register if I no longer live at my permanent address?

Students typically regsiter at their permanent address or the address they live while attending school. If you want to vote where you attend school, you will need to register using your current address. You can also register to vote absentee in some states.

3. Can I vote with my student ID? 

In some states, yes. Click here to find out what forms of identification your state requires (if any).

Voter ID Laws

1. How do I register to vote if I live abroad or am in the military?

The right to vote is under attack in states across the country. Click here and select ‘Know What Kind of ID to Bring’ to find out about ID requirements in your state.