Congrats on your citizenship! If you’ll be 18 before Election Day, you have the right to vote in federal, state, and local elections. This is your chance to influence the leadership in your community — and in the United States as a whole. In this article, we’ll walk you through the voter registration process.
Learn the voting rules in your state
Voting rules are different in every state. However, with exception to North Dakota, all states require citizens to register if they want to vote. How you register to vote can vary too. In many cases you can register to vote online, at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), or by using the National Voter Registration form.
Check your state’s deadline for registration
You can check your state’s deadline for registering here, and learn about specific details on your state’s voter registration process, by visiting your state or local territory’s election office website. Whether or not you can vote in the upcoming midterm elections, registering to vote now will allow you to vote in the presidential election in 2024, so just do it!
Confirm you’re registered to vote
To confirm you’re registered to vote, you can check your voter registration status online, over the phone, by mail, or in person. Like registering itself, this varies state by state, so it’s helpful to check with your local election office.
When you’re confirming your registration, there are a few things to watch out for:
- Your name is accurate and on the voter list
- Your address is up to date
- The polling place is correct
If you can’t find your name on the voter list, reach out to your election office as soon as possible! Every time you move or change your name you have to update your registration or re-register.
Determine your polling place
Once you’ve registered to vote, your election office will likely send you a voter registration card that tells you your polling place. On Election Day, you’ll go there to vote. You’ll probably need to show an ID before you can vote and if you know you can’t make it to your polling place on Election Day, you might qualify to vote by mail.
If you’re a lawful permanent resident and not a U.S. citizen, you cannot vote in federal and state elections. It can be confusing because if you’re at the DMV to get your license, the clerk might ask if you want to register to vote. If you accept, there is a risk of deportation.Non-citizens, such as green card holders cannot vote in federal, state, and most local elections. Learn more about who can vote here.
Learn more about the other benefits of U.S. citizenship, and congrats again!