Can You Vote If You Just Moved? Most States Have A "Grace Period" That Might Just Save The Day
It feels as though this increasingly bizarre election cycle has been going on forever — but, the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Rodham Clinton and Donald Trump is over and Election Day is approaching. It's become increasingly clear over the past two weeks that the stakes are higher than ever in this election, so we all want to make sure that our registration is active and that we won't run into any problems on Nov. 8. However, registration rules (which vary widely by state) can get convoluted, especially if you just moved and have to register to vote.
There may still be time to easily change your voter registration to your new home state. Rock the Vote provides a comprehensive listing of the voter registration deadlines for each state. As you can see, the deadlines and rules vary — many states require you to register 30 days prior to the general election, but others offer a shorter period and you'll be able to register up until several days before the election. Better yet, a number of states, including Colorado, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, and North Carolina, allow you to register in person on Election Day.
If you have relocated to a state where the deadline has passed or you don't have the option to register in person on Nov. 8, the process can get tricky — but hang in there.
According to the U.S. Vote Foundation, "Most states allow a 60-day grace period for you to be able to vote using your old address." To find out if your former home state falls into this category, use this link to enter the state and region — the site will provide you with a comprehensive list of rules and guidelines that are specific to your former state and county. If your former state does allow this grace period, contact the Local Election Office immediately in order to receive detailed instructions about how this procedure works. Because you won't be able to vote in person (unless you moved to a state within commuting distance), be sure to ask for detailed information about how to obtain your ballot and submit it properly so it will be counted.
There's still the unfortunate possibility that you've moved after your new state's deadline and your former state doesn't provide a grace period. Don't give up — sometimes there are exceptions when it comes to presidential elections. Again, it varies by state — for example, Wisconsin allows new residents to cast presidential-only ballots even if they've moved to the state less than 10 days before the election.
So, before throwing in the towel, find your state or local election office and contact them ASAP to explain your situation. Every state is different, but there are often exceptions during presidential election years — especially if there are extenuating circumstances that made it impossible to change your registration by the deadline. It may involve some red tape and spending quite a bit of time on hold while you wait for answers, but it's more than worth the hassle. We all know how much is at stake in this election, and it's our obligation to do everything humanly possible in order to exercise our right to vote.