Can I Vote? How to Update Your Voter Registrationby Albin Renauer
How to Check Your Voter Registration Information
Now’s the time to check and confirm your voter registration, especially if you:
- haven’t voted for a while
- changed your name, or
- permanently moved your residence since you last voted.
It’s not difficult to check your records. A nonpartisan website was created by state election officials to help eligible voters figure out how and where to go vote. NASS (The National Association of Secretaries of State) has set up a "Can I Vote" website, with access to every state's critical voter registration tools.
To start, go to Can I Vote, click "Voter Registration" and then select State. When you get to the information page for State, look for the link to check your information online, or contact the office by phone and speak to someone to make sure you are registered.
How to Register to Vote
If you know that your registration is out of date—perhaps because you moved—or If you need to register to vote for the first time, you can get started at Vote.gov.
When You Don’t Have to Update Your Voter Registration
If you’ve voted in the past couple of years and your name and address haven’t changed, you probably don't have to update your voter registration. You should remain eligible to vote in all local, state, and federal elections in your area.
But if you have any questions about whether you’re registered; it’s better to be safe than sorry.
Why Do I Have To Do This? I Think I'm Already Registered!
Did you know that if you haven’t voted in a while, your state can cancel your voter registration? A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision, Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute, gave states the power to do exactly that.
The new ruling means that if you skip a few elections and fail to respond to a state notice asking you to update your voter registration address, your state may purge your name from the list of registered voters. Ohio—the state that brought the case all the way to the Supreme Court—and many other states are currently poised to purge their voter rolls. [more]
This is a critical issue given the importance of the rapidly approaching 2018 midterm elections. If your state removes your registration and you don’t discover this before you go to the polls, you may be required to complete a provisional ballot. If it turns out that your name was legally purged, your vote won’t count.
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