Registering To Vote and Other Information You Need To Know About Voting
The freedom and ability to vote is one of America’s most important political rights outside of the original Bill of Rights. The Voting Rights Act—combined with subsequent legislation such as the National Voter Registration Act, which requires state agencies to provide opportunities for voter registration—has helped us make significant progress in boosting voting by Americans and historically marginalized groups. Voting is one of the primary ways that demands for change are translated into action. Voting for leaders and legislaters can have significant impacts on your rights as a worker and individual. Workplace Fairness has compiled information from various government resources to provide your with the information you need to register to vote and vote.
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.
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.
Spouse or eligible family member of a service member stationed overseas
Need A Bit Of Guidance?
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.
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.
If you are currently employed and going into work, you may have the right to take time off to vote. Learn about your State Laws on Voting Rights/Time Off to Vote to make sure you and your employer is in compliance with the law.
Voter ID Requirements
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.
About half of the states with voter ID laws accept only photo IDs. These include
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
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.
First time voters who didn’t register in person or show ID before must show identification. This is according to federal law.
Madeline Messa is a 3L at Syracuse University College of Law. She graduated from Penn State with a degree in journalism. With her legal research and writing for Workplace Fairness, she strives to equip people with the information they need to be their own best advocate.