You don’t want to miss an important letter, bill, or notification when you move to your new home do you? You also don’t want to find yourself stuck at the booth on voting day, realizing at the last minute that you never updated your voter registration to your new state of residence. Follow these simple steps and update voter registration information as soon as you move.
Determine if you’re eligible to vote in your state
You most likely meet voter registration criteria if:
- You are a U.S. Citizen either by birth or through naturalization
- You are at least 18 years old, though some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in a primary if they will be 18 by the time voting day comes around. Check the restrictions for your particular state
- You meet your state’s residency requirements. For example, most states require proof of residencies such as an electric bill, a signed lease, or other such documentation. Restrictions for students may be different, so check your state
- You are not in prison, and you are not on parole following conviction of a felony crime
So you passed the test? Here’s how to update your registration
This is the most obvious, but depending on where you now reside and where the state requires you to appear in order to update your registration, it may be a giant hassle. Some states require you to go to the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), so you can update your voter registration information at the same time that you get a new license and register your car. You can often also update your information at any state or local election office or any state-designated location where voter registration may occur. Do keep in mind that near election dates, there may be a registration deadline to be able to participate in the next election. Check with your state!
In most states, you can download and submit the National Mail Voter Registration Form according to the regulations for your locale. Some states don’t accept this form, however: North Dakota, Wyoming, New Hampshire and U.S. territories (Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands) each have a different set of requirements. Visit the state’s website to find out what options they provide.
By allowing you to update voter registration online, many states have made it easy to change your voter registration address from the comfort of home. But before you can update voter registration online, you have to have a valid drivers’ license in your new state — so be sure to give yourself adequate time for both prior to any election.
Does your new home state allow voter registration online?
Here is a list. If you don’t see your state listed, you’ll need to use one of the above methods:
- District of Columbia
- New York
- South Carolina
- West Virginia
Again, be sure you are familiar with your state’s voter registration deadlines. Most states have a comprehensive explanation of what you’ll need to do on the website, so add “check voter registration requirements” to your moving checklist! After taking care of the actual movers, this small step will help ease your long distance move.