Election Day is coming up on Nov. 8, and if you want your vote to count you'll have to register by the deadline in your state. Sixteen states and territories have a voter registration deadline on Oct. 11: Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, American Samoa, and the District of Columbia. And since you can't vote in November without registering, you should check your registration status as soon as possible to ensure you aren't missing out on the chance to help determine who will be the next leader of the country.
Voters can register either online, in-person, or by mail, depending on where they live. As of now, 31 states and the District of Columbia offer online registration. Even those who registered in advance may not be in the clear. If you've recently moved, changed your name, or switched political affiliations, you will need to re-register.
If you live in a dorm, you can register to vote at your school address. But, be warned that if you don't have documents to prove that you live at your dorm address, you may not be able to vote. Voter identification laws vary by state, so you'll want to make sure you have all the necessary documents before you make your way to the polls.
This year, some voter registration deadlines have changed due to unavoidable circumstances. The voter registration deadline in Florida was supposed to be Oct. 11, but on Monday a federal judge extended Florida's deadline by at least 24 hours to allow those affected by Hurricane Matthew to register.
And Florida isn't the only state to change deadlines; South Carolina's deadline is Oct. 11, but it was originally scheduled for 30 days before the election. Gov. Nikki Haley extended the voter registration deadline in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. South Carolina voters may not be able to register to vote online or in-person anymore, but applications postmarked by Tuesday, Oct. 11 will still be accepted.
Interestingly enough, 13 states and the District of Columbia allow registration at the polls. So if you procrastinated on registering, you could still be eligible to vote. Election Day registration could help more people exercise their right to vote by making the process more convenient. Hopefully more states will adopt this policy, but in the meantime voters will have to make sure they're registered on time.