As you make a plan for how you’ll cast your vote in the 2020 presidential election, you may be wondering what your registration options are. If you want to avoid in-person registration due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, here’s what you need to know about registering to vote online. Most states offer online registration, but you’ll also want to take a look at the deadlines to make sure you're registered in time for the upcoming election.
Election Day is coming up on Tuesday, Nov. 3, which means the deadline to register to vote is coming up even sooner. Deadlines vary by state and can depend on whether you register by mail, online, or in-person, but your best bet is always to register as soon as possible. You can check your state’s guidelines on your state’s election office website for information specific to your state. Organizations like Vote.org also offer a full list of every state’s voter registration deadline. As of publication on Sept. 18, online voter registration is available in 41 states and Washington, D.C., according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCLS). Arkansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Texas, and Wyoming don’t currently have online voter registration options. (North Dakota doesn’t have a voter registration process at all — voters are required to bring a valid ID and proof of residency to the polls.)
If you live in a state that offers online registration, it’s a pretty simple process to get yourself registered. To start, visit your Secretary of State or Division of Elections website, and you should find a link for registration in the election information section. You can find a complete list of state election websites compiled by the NCLS, or you can go to Vote.org to fill out your voter registration application online. As you prepare to register, note that in addition to filling out your personal information, you’ll need to have a valid driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card handy to complete your online registration.
Some states require voters to be registered as many as 31 days before Election Day or as few as seven, so again, make sure to register as soon as possible. Select states also allow same-day voter registration for in-person voters. As of publication on Sept. 18, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, Vermont, Washington, and Washington, D.C. allow same-day voter registration. If you go this route, you’ll need to bring specific identifying documents, which will vary by state, with you to the polls to confirm your registration. You can check on what you’ll need on a state by state basis here. If you’re unable to register to vote online and your state does not provide same-day registration, you can also register to vote by mail with a printable form from the official U.S. Election Committee’s website. Just make sure you have it in the mail to return by your state’s mail-in registration deadline, which you can check here.
To ensure you’re registered, you can check your voter registration status on Vote.org. If you’re considering voting by mail for the upcoming election, keep in mind the deadline to request a mail-in ballot is no later than 15 days before Election Day, which would be Tuesday, Oct. 20 (but it’s best to request it as soon as your registration is confirmed).
Your voice matters. So does your vote. Make sure both are heard and counted in the 2020 election by registering to vote right now.