How to register to vote in the USA

4 min


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

Visit to register to vote. 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

Confirm That You’re Registered to Vote

To confirm that you are registered to vote in the upcoming election, check your voter registration status. You’ll be able to find out what political party you’re registered with and verify your polling location. 

How to Check Your Voter Registration Information

Choose one of the following:

Check your registration information before your state’s deadline to register to vote. That could be up to 30 days before the election. If you have to re-register or make any changes, you will have time to get it done.

Do You Need to Re-Register to Vote? 

If your name and address have not changed and you’re an active voter, you should not have to re-register to vote or update your voter registration.

If you’ve moved permanently to another state, register to vote in the new state. If you’ve moved within your state or changed your name, you need to update your voter registration with your new location or your new name. 

Why You Should Check Your Registration Information

Each state has different ways to keep voter registration lists up-to-date. Most purge, or delete, the names of inactive voters. If you go to vote and find your registration has been purged, you may have to cast a provisional ballot

Checking ahead of time to be sure you are still registered to vote and making any needed changes ensures:

  • Your name, address, and party affiliation information are up-to-date
  • Your state didn’t purge your registration from its list of eligible voters. If it did, you have time to re-register to vote.
  • You are able to vote
  • You’re voting at the correct polling place

Change Your Voter Registration

If you’ve moved, changed your name, or want to update your political party affiliation, you need to update your voter registration. Submit your changes before your state’s deadline to register to vote. That could be up to 30 days before the election. 

How to Change Your Voter Registration Information

How to Change Your Political Party Affiliation

Your political party affiliation is the party that you choose to associate with. You may be asked your party affiliation when you register to vote.

  • You can change your party affiliation online, by mail, or over the phone using the methods for changing your voter registration information, above. 
  • 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.

You can always choose to vote for a candidate from any party in a general election, like a presidential, congressional, or mayoral election.

Your party affiliation is usually only important in primary elections. Many states have “closed” primaries. This means that you can only vote for your party’s candidates in its primary election. Learn about the different types of primary elections.

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.

  • Show the Video Transcript

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.

Who Can and Who Can’t Vote

You must be a U.S. citizen to vote in federal, state or local elections. 

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?

Check with your state or local election office for any questions about who can and cannot vote.Share This Page:

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