The push to head to the polls is heating up with the 2018 midterm elections right around the corner. While some people are racing to register before the deadline, others can sit back and relax until Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 6. Of course, if you're registered to vote but can't remember where, you can't relax just yet. Here's how to find out where you're registered to vote, because you'll want to show up at the right polling place.
A lot's happened since the last election. There's a new president, a new Supreme Court Justice, and Justin Bieber got engaged. Therefore it's totally understandable that you might have forgotten which address you used to register in the last election. In order to vote on Nov. 6, you're gonna need to know where you're registered so you can show up at the proper polling place, but don't worry, it's really simple. All you need to do is check your voter status on Vote.org or Rock the Vote. Just head to the site and you'll be prompted to fill in some basic information like name, date of birth, and address. Just type in the address you think you registered with, and if it's correct then you're all set and you'll be told you are a confirmed, registered voter. If it's not correct, try a different address. Odds are, though, that you'd be registered to vote with the address on your license or ID.
If you are not registered under the address on your license then you might need to apply for a change of address. You can do that by simply going to your state's DMV website. For instance, if you live in New York, head to the voter registration page for New York. If you don't want to go through all the steps of finding the page for your state, simply type "voter registration" and your state in your preferred search engine to save some time.
Your other option is just to register to vote again. That can be done at Vote.gov. All you have to do is enter your state from the dropdown menu and Vote.gov will tell you whether your state allows online registration or it has to be mailed in. Either way you'll just have to fill in a few basic things like name, address (as it appears on your license), and social security number.
Here's the thing, whether you're changing your address or registering again, you'll first need to know the voter registration deadline in your state, because it might have passed. Some states like New York have a deadline up to 20 days before an election, while other states like Colorado only need you to register eight days before an election. Basically, you'll want to take care of it right away because your deadline could be coming up fast.
If the registration deadline in your state has passed and you weren't able to change your address or register under a new one, there's still hope. If you're registered, you can vote under the old address — sorta. Find a polling place near you using the polling place locator on Vote.gov, and if you show up and it turns out that's not your polling place, then you'll be given what's called a "provisional ballot." Those ballots are given to people who run into issues at the polling place like wrong ID or if the person's name is not on the polling place's list (which will be your issue if you've accidentally shown up at the wrong place). Provisional ballots are kept to the side and investigated — within a few days of the election — before being counted with the rest of the votes. If you cast a provisional ballot, then the polling place will give you all the information you need to find out if your vote was counted, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL)
All the minutiae of voting can seem a little much, but when it comes down to it, it's actually pretty simple — especially now that you have all the deets.