Two-thirds of states expect you to provide identification to let you vote at the polls.
Your state’s laws determine whether you will need to show an ID and if so, what kind.
First time voters who didn’t register in person or show ID before must show identification. This is according to federal law.
About half of the states with voter ID laws accept only photo IDs. These include
- driver’s licenses
- state-issued ID cards
- military ID cards
Many of these states now offer a free voter photo ID card if you don’t have another form of valid photo ID.
Other states accept some types of non-photo ID. These may include
- birth certificates
- Social Security cards
- bank statements
- utility bills
Each state is specific about the documents it will accept as proof of identification. Be sure you know your state’s voter ID requirements before Election Day.
Even if you don’t have a form of ID that your state asks for, you may be able to vote. Some states require you take extra measures after you vote to make sure that your vote counts.
Some states may ask you to sign a form affirming your identity. Other states will let you cast a provisional ballot. States use provisional ballots when there is a question about a voter's eligibility. States keep provisional ballots separate until they decide whether they should count. To do so, they will investigate a voter’s eligibility. They may also compel you to show an acceptable form of ID within a few days. If you don’t, your provisional ballot won’t count.
Even with the right ID, you may have to cast a provisional ballot. This can happen if the name or address on your ID doesn’t match the name or address on your voter registration. For instance:
You get married, change your last name, and update your voter registration. But your driver’s license, which you present as ID, still has your unmarried name on it.
You move and for your voter ID, you present a current utility bill. Unfortunately, you've forgotten to update your address on your voter registration beforehand.
Some states require that you notify your local registration office of any name change.
Avoid problems. Always update your voter registration when you move or change your name.