The process of registering to vote really is simpler than it is perceived to be. However, a couple of mistakes or ignorance could cost you your ability to vote on Election Day. So, how do you go about it?
One: Are you Eligible?
There are a couple of ways you can check if you are eligible to vote—not everyone is eligible! The following steps should help:
- It’s a must to be a United States citizen
- You can only qualify in a state in which you are resident
- The minimum age required to vote is 18
- You should not be found by a court to be mentally incompetent
- You definitely should not be in prison or any county jail
Two: Are there Registration Options?
There’s no one way to start the process. Some states are fortunate to have the online system in place while some have to do with filling the NMVRF or going to any of the designated centers.
Registering to vote online is possible, though this is only currently available in 20 states, listed below:
- New York
You should know that you’ll need your date of birth, social security number, your current address as well as an ID issued by the state to go ahead with this registration option.
Aside from the states listed above, all other states would require you to fill out the National Mail Voter Registration Form (NMVRF). The good thing is, the form isn’t only in English. It can be available in eleven languages in total, including Chinese, Spanish, Hindi and Japanese.
However, you can’t use this if you are in any of the United State territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands). The states of North Dakota and Wyoming are also exempted. If you’re a Wyomingite, then you can register in-person, or at the polls on Election Day.
So now, when you complete the filling of the NMVRF, you simply mail it. After a few weeks, you are sure to get a confirmation about your registration. Not so hard, is it? But remember, if you use the form, you need to show your ID the first time you vote. A current photo ID, your pay check or even your bank statement will suffice.
A quick note: You may also use the NMVR to update your registration if you changed your name, address, or to register with a political party.
You can register the old fashioned way by walking to the voter registration office, the DMV, or any Public assistance or Armed Service recruitment facility. You could also get this done at any State-funded program centre that serves people with disabilities.
Three: When is the Registration Deadline?
Depending on which state you are in, your registration deadline prior to the election will vary. Remember to confirm your state’s deadline from your local elections office to ensure you don’t miss out.
Four: I am an Absentee – No Problem!
Whether you are overseas temporarily or you’re a member of the military in active service, you still can register. You only have to get the Federal Postcard Application (FPCA) form filled, and then you can ask for an absentee ballot. Public Health Service members can utilize this medium.
Five: Confirmation in your Mail
Whether you used the online system or not, your voter’s card will be sent to you. Despite the fact that you’ll not need this to vote in most states, you will need this to be well-informed about your voting polling station and the precinct where you are required to cast your vote.
If are in need of any special information, materials or help, remember the first place to go would be the local elections office.
Crosscheck – Doesn’t Hurt to be Sure…
Despite receiving confirmation, it’s still prudent to check again to be sure your registration has been successful. This is best done weeks before the deadline. It’s a safe precaution that would put your mind at ease, and then you can simply count down to the D-Day.