Register to Vote and Check or Change Registration

Learn if you're eligible to vote, how to register, check, or change your information. Find the deadline to register to vote in your state.

Register to Vote

If you need to register to vote, visit Vote.gov. Depending on your state’s voter registration rules, the site can help you

  • Register online. This is available for 38 states plus the District of Columbia.
  • Download the National Mail Voter Registration Form. 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.
  • Find guidance for states and territories with different registration procedures.

Start Your Voter Registration

Register to Vote in Person

You can register in person with your state or local election office. You may also be able to register at one of these nearby public facilities. Check with the actual location first.

Overseas and Military Voters

The Federal Voting Assistance Program lets you register to vote and request an absentee ballot if you're a

  • U.S. citizen living outside the U.S.
  • Service member stationed overseas
  • Spouse or eligible family member of a service member stationed overseas

Register to Vote in Other Languages

The National Mail Voter Registration Form is available in 14 languages plus English. You must print, complete, sign, and mail the form to the location listed for your state. The form comes in

  • Arabic
  • Bengali
  • French
  • Haitian Creole
  • Hindi
  • Japanese
  • Khmer
  • Korean
  • Portuguese
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese

Voter's guides include information on registering to vote. They come in English and

  • Cherokee
  • Chinese
  • Dakota
  • Japanese
  • Korean
  • Navajo
  • Spanish
  • Tagalog
  • Vietnamese
  • Yupik

Learn About the Voting Process

If you have questions about the steps involved in voting, these guides may help.

Check or Change Your Voter Registration

Every state runs elections in its own way. This includes how states manage voter registration information. Your state or local election office will have the details on how to change your voter registration.

Check to Ensure Your Voter Registration is Active and Accurate

It’s critical to update your name or permanent address if they change. And keeping your political party up-to-date is required in many states to take part in a party's primary elections or caucuses.

If you’ve moved permanently to another state, you must register to vote in the new state.

Even if none of your information has changed, you should check your registration before every election you want to vote in. This is vital if you haven’t voted recently. Your state may have dropped your registration from its rolls or changed your polling place.

How to Check and Change Your Voter Registration Information

Verify Your Information to Avoid Having to Cast a Provisional Ballot

Each state has its own process for keeping its voter registration lists up-to-date. Most purge, or delete, the names of inactive voters.

You may have to cast a provisional ballot if you go to vote and find that:

  • Your registration has been purged

  • Your polling place has changed

  • The name or address on your voter ID isn't an exact match for the information in your voter registration

Many states require you to present additional proof of identity within a couple of days of the election if you cast a provisional ballot. Otherwise, your provisional ballot won't count.

More Information About Political Party Preference

  • Party preference doesn’t matter in general elections. You can vote for any candidate.

  • You don't have to join a political party or reveal your party preference when you register to vote.

  • Not every state accepts or lists a party affiliation on a voter registration card.

If You’ve Recently Registered to Vote or Changed Your Registration

Video: Guide for the New Voter

If you're getting ready to vote for the first time, this short video can help. It goes over the basic requirements for voting in the U.S., and explains why it's important to know your state's specific rules for voting.

Voter Registration Deadlines

Every state except North Dakota requires citizens to register if they want to become voters. Depending on your state, the registration deadline could be as much as a month before an election. 

Check the U.S. Vote Foundation to find your state's deadline for registering. You can also check your state or territory's election office for more details. 

Video: Guide for Checking Your Registration

If you have already registered to vote, you may want to check your registration to make sure it is up-to-date. This short video will explain why it is important to check and how easy it is to do.

Voting Rules in the U.S. Are Different in Every State

Federal and state elections in the United States are run by the states, according to Article I and Article II of the Constitution. No two states run their elections exactly the same. Contacting your state or local election office is the best way to find out about your state’s unique election rules.

The Basic Steps to Vote are the Same in Most States

Despite the differences in how states run elections, the basic voting process is the same almost everywhere.

  • Every state except North Dakota requires you to register to vote.

  • Every state has absentee voting.

  • Most states assign you a specific polling place, or voting location. A few states have ballot drop sites instead.

Voting Guides Explain the Basics

These voting guides explain the basics of voting, no matter where you live:

Who Can and Who Can’t Vote

Check with your state or local election office for any questions about who can and cannot vote. Use this interactive map to learn more about what type of ID if any is required to vote in your state.

Who Can Vote?

You can vote in U.S. elections if you:

  • Are a U.S. citizen

  • Meet your state’s residency requirements

  • Are 18 years old on or before Election Day

    • In some states, you can register to vote before you turn 18 if you will be 18 by Election Day.

  • Are registered to vote by your state’s voter registration deadline. North Dakota does not require voter registration.

Who CAN’T Vote?

Whose Options Are Limited Due to Primaries, Caucuses or Political Party?

  • No one’s. In the general election, you can vote for any presidential candidate on the ballot from any party:

    • Whether you voted in your state’s primaries or caucuses or not

    • Regardless of who you voted for in the primaries or caucuses

    • Regardless of whether you’re registered with a political party or not

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 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?

Share This Page:
Facebook Twitter Email

Do you need help?

Ask us any question about the U.S. government for free. We'll get you the answer or tell you where to find it.

Last Updated: August 2, 2019