U.S. citizens who are 18 or older are eligible to vote for any elective office, from president to councilperson, provided they register first. In most states, a voter must register with their Secretary of State.
Studies suggest that 50 million or more citizens have not bothered to register to vote, and a percentage of that statistic might be due to misunderstanding or misinformation about voter registration.
Below is some basic information about voting and voter registration renewal.
Voter Registration Before an Election
In most states, you must register a minimum of thirty days before elections are held. Three states – Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Maine – allow you to register up to and including the day of election.
North Dakota is the only state in which citizens are not required to register to vote at all.
Renewing Voter Registration
You never have to renew your voter registration as long as you live at the same address.
When you relocate (whether it’s somewhere within the same state or to a different state entirely) you do need to inform the elections commission in the town to which you’ve moved. They will provide you with a renewal form, which should then allow you to vote in the next election (provided you complete the form before the thirty day deadline).
Voter Registration Locations
In most states, going to the office of the local election authority will do the trick.
In addition, some states allow you to register through the mail, over the Internet, at an office of the Department of Motor Vehicles, or another state agency that provides a public service (like the Department of Social Services).