Can I register to vote on Election Day? Here’s how, if your state allows it

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Find out if you’re registered to vote.


James Martin/CNET

This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET’s coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Voter registration has ended in many states for the 2020 election on Nov. 3. And if you’re planning to vote in person (safely), you won’t be able to do so unless you’re registered. If you’re not sure what your status is, the answer is simple — and it requires very little time to find out.

Voting will look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once you’re registered to vote, you can choose to vote by mail or absentee ballot, but note that these ballots have to be postmarked by Election Day and different states have different cutoffs. For example, in California, your mail-in ballot must be postmarked by Tuesday evening. Here’s how to track your ballot in every state.

In-person voting is also available, but you may need help finding your polling location during the ongoing pandemic. Expect extra rules for social distancing and mask-wearing at the very least. Here’s what you need to know about registering to vote and what you need to bring if you vote in person on Election Day. Remember, voter intimidation is illegal, and here’s what to do if you spot it.


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How to check if you’re registered to vote

To see if you’re currently registered to vote, visit vote.org and click Check Your Registration. From here, you’ll need to enter your personal information, like your first and last name, current address, date of birth and an email address. Make sure all your information is correct and select Check your registration. On the next screen, you’ll either see confirmation that you’re registered or that you need to register to vote.

If you’re not sure you’re registered to vote

If you’re going to the polls and you’re not sure if you’re registered, you can arrive at your local polling place with your proof of address and ID and speak to polling officials. You may be instructed to complete a ballot, which would count if you are registered, and would not count if you aren’t. We recommend checking electronically (see above) to make sure.

Can I register to vote on Election Day?

These states will still let you register to vote on Election Day, but it must be in person. Note that you’ll most likely need to bring proof of address and a form of ID.

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • North Dakota doesn’t require voter registration
  • Rhode Island
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wisconsin

How do I register to vote?

If you’re not registered to vote and it’s still open for your state, visit vote.org and click Register To Vote. From here, enter your personal details as mentioned above and click Continue. When you’re finished filling out the form, you’ll need to sign and date it, then mail or hand-deliver the form to the provided address. Note that the deadline for registering to vote in many states has already passed.

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You may need to reregister to vote.


James Martin/CNET

If the deadline has passed for online voting in your state, but your state allows Election Day registration, call ahead of time to make sure you have everything you need to register. Most states that allow you to register on Election Day let you register at the polls.

Common reasons for needing to reregister to vote

Even if you already registered to vote, here are several reasons why you may need to reregister.

  • You recently moved to another location.
  • You’ve changed your name since the last time you voted.
  • You’d like to change political parties.
  • You haven’t voted in the past four years.
  • You’ve never registered to vote at all, in which case you’d need to register for the first time.

Need more information about voting? Here’s what’s going on with the USPS crisis and how it could affect the election, the differences between mail-in voting and absentee voting and how to vote safely if you’re voting in person.

source: cnet.com

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