Voting is considered a cornerstone of the democratic process, and yet voter participation remains low in the United States. In an election as contentious as this one, the stakes are high for voters. But there's more to voting than simply turning up at the polls on Election Day. In all but one state, you can't vote unless you've registered to do so ahead of time. The general election is quickly approaching, but is it too late to register to vote?
Unfortunately, deadlines for voter registration have already passed in most states. Anyone residing in Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and West Virginia who is not already registered to vote will find themselves unable to cast a ballot in the general election on Nov. 8.
However, several states (and Washington, D.C.) allow for same-day voting registration, meaning you can vote on Election Day as long as you show up. However, the rules for registration in each state vary and should be checked carefully to ensure your registration goes smoothly.
Here's a breakdown of the remaining registration deadlines:
- Connecticut: Voters in Connecticut could register online, by mail, or in person until Nov. 1. However, same-day voter registration is also available on Nov. 8 at designated locations only.
- District of Columbia: Voters can register in person until Nov. 8 with proof of residency.
- Idaho: Voters in Idaho can register to vote on Nov. 8 with proof of residency.
- Illinois: Voters in Illinois can register to vote on Election Day with proof of residency.
- Iowa: Voters in Iowa can register to vote in person on Election Day.
- Maine: Voters in Maine can register to vote in person on or before Nov. 8.
- Minnesota: Voters in Minnesota can register to vote in person until Nov. 8.
- Montana: Voters in Montana can register to vote in person on Nov. 8 at county election offices.
- New Hampshire: Voters in New Hampshire can register to vote in person on Nov. 8.
- Rhode Island: While voter registration in Rhode Island closed Oct. 9, would-be voters can register in person on Election Day at their local Board of Canvassers to be eligible to vote in the presidential and vice presidential races only.
- Wisconsin: Voters in Wisconsin can register to vote in person on Nov. 8.
- Wyoming: Voters in Wyoming can register to vote on Election Day.
The election is fast approaching, meaning there's no time to waste. Check your state's deadline and register today if possible.