Before you or your loved one can vote in an election, you must be registered to vote. There are three different ways to register:
Registering to vote in-person requires you to go to one of several different physical locations:
- Public assistance agencies
- Your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)
- Voter registration offices (state or local)
- Election offices (state or local)
- Recruitment centers for the armed services
- Public facilities which have been selected as voter registration sites by your state
There are two different types of voter registration forms: The National Mail Voter Registration (NMVR) form, and your state's voter registration form.
Most states will allow you to register to vote by filling out and mailing in either form. However, Wyoming does not allow its citizens to register to vote by mail, North Dakota doesn't require its citizens to register to vote, and New Hampshire only allows people who are applying for an absentee ballot to register via the NMVR form.
The NMVR form can be found online on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website. State forms can be found online on your state's government website. Depending on where to live, you may also be able to pick up either form from a physical location such as: your city or county clerk's office, a local public library, or public school.
Once you have completed the registration form, you will need to consult the "State Instructions" section of the form to determine where to send it (each state has different instructions for where to submit forms). You can also use the NMVR form to notify the government of a change in address or to identify which political party you are choosing to register with.
Online voter registration is done on a state-by-state basis. Consult your state government's website (link to state-by-state voting info page) to learn more about registering online in your area.
If you're unsure about whether you or your loved one is officially registered to vote, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission suggests double checking your registration status as soon as possible, and no later than seven weeks prior to an election.