How Late Can You Register To Vote? You May Not Want To Wait Until Election Day

The 2016 election cycle has been a doozy for citizens across the United States. With the level of theatricality Americans have witnessed over recent months, it could very well slip your mind that there is actual an end in sight on November 8. Just as easily, you could forget that registering to vote is a thing, and you can't vote unless that's checked off the to-do list. So, how late can you register to vote? If you think you can register as late as Election Day, you may not be in luck.

The "may" is crucial here, because every state has its own rules on voter registration, and there are only a few states that allow registering on Election Day itself. If you happen to reside in one of these special places, you technically can leave it to the very last minute to become eligible to vote, although doing so might not make for the easiest of experiences at the polls.

As for all the others, there are very real deadlines prior to the fateful day when US citizens head to the polls: some are set for as early as one month before the actual election. The candidates are very aware of these precious deadlines — particularly in swing states where electoral college votes are way up in the air — and residents across the country should be, too.

So here is the quick rundown on your home state's policy on getting ready to vote November 8.

Alabama: October 24

Alaska: October 9

American Samoa: October 11

Arizona: October 10

Arkansas: October 10 (In-Person), October 11 (Mail-In Postmark)

California: October 24

Colorado: Election Day Registration, October 31 (Mail-In)

Connecticut: Election Day Registration, November 1 (Mail-In Postmark)

Delaware: October 15

District of Columbia: Election Day Registration, October 9 (Email or Mail-In Postmark)

Florida: October 18

Georgia: October 11

Guam: October 28

Hawaii: October 10, October 25-November 5 (Same Day Registration and Voting)

Idaho: Election Day Registration or October 14 (Mail-In Postmark)

Illinois: Election Day Registration (Varies by County), October 11 (Mail-In Postmark), October 23 (Online)

Indiana: October 11

Iowa: Election Day Registration, October 24 (Mail-In Postmark), October 29 (In-Person)

Kansas: October 18

Kentucky: October 11

Louisiana: October 11

Maine: Election Day Registration, October 18 (Mail-In Request Received)

Maryland: October 18 (Mail-In Postmark)

Massachusetts: October 19

Michigan: October 11

Minnesota: Election Day Registration, October 18 (Online or Mail-In Request Received)

Mississippi: October 8 (In-Person or Mail-In Postmark)

Missouri: October 12

Montana: Election Day Registration, October 11 (Mail-In Postmark)

Nebraska: October 21 (Online or Mail-In Postmark), October 28 (In-Person)

Nevada: October 18

New Hampshire: Election Day Registration (Varies By Locality)

New Jersey: October 18

New Mexico: October 11

New York: October 14 (Mail-In Postmark or In-Person)

North Carolina: October 14

North Dakota: Not Required

Ohio: October 11

Oklahoma: October 14

Oregon: October 18

Pennsylvania: October 11

Puerto Rico: September 19

Rhode Island: October 9

South Carolina: October 8 (In-Person), October 9 (Online or Fax), October 11 (Mail-In Postmark)

South Dakota: October 24

Tennessee: October 11

Texas: October 11

Utah: October 9 (Mail-In Postmark), November 1 (In-Person or Online)

Vermont: November 2

Virginia: October 17

Washington: October 10 (Online), October 11 (Mail-In Postmark), October 31 (In-Person)

West Virginia: October 18

Wisconsin: Election Day Registration, October 19 (Mail-In Postmark)

Wyoming: Election Day Registration, October 24 (Mail-In Postmark)

While a good number of states have simple one-date deadlines (i.e. if you live in New Jersey, you best make sure you're registered by October 18), some policies are not so easy to read. This fuzziness around the date by which your name must be on the list means the best course of action is looking up the rules for not only your state, but also your particular county.