People change, especially in their twenties. Growing up means re-evaluating a lot of things, and that can sometimes bleed into political ideals, too. Maybe you felt one way when you first registered at 18, but that political party isn't doing it for you anymore and you want to switch. Well, don't worry because here's how to change your party affiliation for the 2018 midterms. Just like a bad haircut, you're not stuck with it forever.
If you're already a registered voter (good job, btw) and want to change your party before the Nov. 8 election, then there's a few things you need to know. First off, updating your party varies across states. But it's pretty much like registering to vote — in fact, you're basically going to have to register to vote again. Thankfully, registration is pretty easy and some states (like New York) even allow you to register online. All you need to do is follow the basic registration process, but choose a different party. Because you're basically registering to vote again, the deadlines are the same as for voter registration. If you don't know when the deadline in your state is, then head to Vote.org and click "voter registration deadlines" from the menu. From there you'll get a list of the deadlines in every state. If you're committed to changing your party, then I suggest you check those deadlines ASAP, because some states' voter registration deadlines are almost a month before an election.
Before you drive yourself mad trying to change your party or fretting over deadlines, you should know that it's not that big a deal for general elections. According to USA.gov, you really don't even need to be registered with a party at all, it's all up to you. Also, the party you're registered with does not affect how you can vote in a general election. If you're registered Independent, let's say, you can still vote Democrat on Nov. 6. The only time your party affiliation really comes into play, depending on what state you're in, is during the primaries.
States like Florida and New York have what's called "closed primaries," which means that you must be registered with a party in order to vote for a candidate in that party. Also, voters with no party or who are registered as Independent are blocked from voting in primaries in "closed primary" states. There are also states, for instance Arizona and New Jersey, where even unaffiliated voters are allowed to vote in a primary election. If you want to know which type of primary election your state holds, you can find all of that information on the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) website. But, again, in general elections you can vote for whichever candidate you like regardless of party affiliation and the state you live in.
If you're registered but just wanted to change your party and missed the deadline, you'll still be able to vote in the general election. So, that's a plus. But for those of you who aren't yet registered, you should take care of it right away. Some say procrastination is the spice of life, but it's also the spice of not being able to have a say in the way your government looks because you missed the registration deadline and can't vote. See you at the polls!