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Know your voting rights; keep your registration updated

Know your voting rights

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You and the LawThe right to vote is a foundation of our democracy guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the Constitution. You are eligible to vote if you are a U.S. citizen, meet your state’s residency requirements and are 18 years of age or older.

Individual states are in charge of elections, including how and where you register to vote and how you change your registration if you move. Every state except North Dakota requires citizens to register in order to vote, and the registration deadline can be as much as a month before an election, depending on the state.

The National Association of Secretaries of State hosts Can I Vote, a nonpartisan website created by state election officials to help eligible voters figure out how and where to vote. On, you can connect to your state’s voter registration page to find out how to check and change your name and address. Many states allow online voter registration and permit registered
voters to change information online. You can also make changes by mail.

Uniformed military voters and citizens living overseas can register to vote or request a ballot using the Federal Post Card Application,
available at All 50 states and U.S. territories accept this method of registering and voting for service members and
overseas citizens.

It’s important to keep your voter registration active and up-to-date. When you move, even if it’s within the same city, you will need to update your address with the voter registration office and confirm that you know the correct polling station to cast your vote. If you move permanently to another state, you must register to vote in the new state.

If you haven’t voted recently, check with your local voter registration office to be sure your name hasn’t been dropped from the voter rolls or that your polling station hasn’t changed.

Verify your information to avoid having to cast a provisional ballot. If your eligibility to vote in a federal election is in question, workers at your polling place must offer you a provisional ballot. Reasons you may need a provisional ballot on election day include your name not appearing on the official voter list at your polling place, a challenge to your eligibility to vote, and not providing the required identification.

U.S. Vote Foundation has information on voting requirements and registration deadlines for each state on its website,

The U.S. Election Assistance Commission recommends also doing these things before an election:

« Several weeks before election day, confirm you are registered to vote.
« Know how and when to apply for an absentee ballot if you are unable to vote at your polling place on election day.
« Know your options for early voting.
« Know the voter identification requirements in your state.
« Know your polling place and how to get there.

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