Tuesday Tip: How to register to vote — or find out if you’re already registered

Tuesday Tip: How to register to vote — or find out if you’re already registered

Voting is one of the most important acts we can perform in our democracy, especially as Republicans relentlessly try to suppress the vote in order to steal elections and advance their dangerous, racist agenda.

November’s midterm elections will be a massive opportunity to reject Republican extremism and stand up for progressive values.  Voters will determine who controls the House and Senate, as well as 36 state governorships and multiple state legislatures.

If Democrats flip control of one or both houses of Congress and statehouses across the country, they could block Trump’s agenda, slam the door on Trump’s nominees, block Republican gerrymandering in the 2021 redrawing of congressional districts, and gain new powers to investigate the Trump administration.

It is exactly because of moments like these that Republicans have been trying for decades to suppress the vote of people of color, the elderly, low-income people, and people living in progressive or urban areas with their racist, classist and ageist voter suppression laws.

Don’t fall into their traps. Register to vote. It’s your right, your privilege, and your duty.  Here’s how.

Make sure you’re eligible

You’re eligible to vote if:

  • You’re a U.S. citizen.
  • You’re a legal resident of your state.
  • You’re 18 years old. Some states allow 17-year-olds to register if they’ll be 18 before election day.
  • Some states shamefully prevent people with prior felony convictions or who are incarcerated from voting. Find out the laws in your state from the ACLU.

Find out if you’re registered already

This takes about 30 seconds. Fill out the form at Vote.org and click “Check your registration.”

Register online

If you’re not registered now, you can easily register online in 38 states plus the District of Columbia: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

If you’re a resident of one of these states, you can register in 2 minutes at Vote.gov.

Register by mail

Download the National Mail Voter Registration Form. You can fill it out on screen and print the completed form or you can print the blank form and fill it out by hand. Sign the form and mail it to the address listed for your state.

In addition to English, the form is available in Bengali, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.

Register in person

You can register in person at your state or local election office. Find it here. You can also register at your local DMV office when you apply for or renew a driver’s license.

Twelve states and the District of Columbia automatically register you to vote when you apply for or renew a license unless you opt out. Those states are: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington, and West Virginia.

You can also register at your local armed services recruitment center. And at state and county public assistance offices that provide food stamps/SNAP, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, and services for the disabled. There you can fill out and submit a National Mail Voter Registration Form.

Register on time

Every state has a voter registration deadline, which you must meet in order to vote in the next election. The deadline is usually two to four weeks prior to the election. Check your state’s deadline at the U.S. Vote Foundation.

Register on election day

Sixteen states plus the District of Columbia allow you to register on the day of an election: California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A lot of people are taking advantage of this option. In 2016, states that allow election day registration had an average of 7% higher turnout compared to states that did not.

Update your registration information

You can check and possibly change your registration information—including your name, address and political party—online at Can I Vote, a nonpartisan website created by state election officials to help eligible voters figure out how and where to vote.

You should re-register or update your information if you’ve changed your name, moved permanently or if you’re voting in a new location after changing your registration address.

A good source for more information on registration and for registration shortcuts is Vote.org, a site created to simplify political engagement, increase voter turnout and strengthen our democracy.

We’ll see you at the polls!