First, We Register

A ballot being held up accompanied by small text that says "EXPLAINER" and large text that says “Getting Registered to Vote"

In the United States, the first step to vote unfortunately isn’t as easy as just turning 18. You first have to register to vote and every state has different rules and regulations for this step that vary widely.

For the upcoming election, many states are offering a variety of options that will make registering to vote easier and more accessible. 

Here are the different ways people can register to vote in America.

1. Automatic voter registration at the DMV.

In 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) or “Motor Voter Act.” Under the NVRA, a person can register to vote, or update their registration, while applying for or renewing a driver’s license. It is important to check how your state implements the NVRA. While some states, like Oregon, automatically opt in eligible voters to register, other states, like Texas, simply redirect eligible voters at the DMV to the state’s registration website. Voting rights groups are currently suing Texas over this issue.

2. Same-day voter registration.

21 states and Washington, D.C. have same-day registration, allowing eligible voters to register on the same day that they cast a ballot. If you’re planning to register same day, check your state’s requirements to be sure you have all the materials needed to register, such as proof of residency or an ID.

3. Online voter registration.

40 states and Washington, D.C. offer online voter registration. This option is often used to supplement other forms of voter registration.

4. In-person voter registration.

In many states, you can also register to vote in person at local boards of elections, public libraries, high schools or other government agencies. Some states require in-person registration. For example, in New Hampshire, voters are typically required to register in person and can only request to register by mail if they can’t register in person.

We can’t sit around and wait for court rulings. Check your registration status below and register to vote today!