Voting is one of the most important rights that we have as citizens. It is also one of our greatest responsibilities. Eligibility to vote in the United States is determined by both federal and state law. You must be at least 18 years old at the time of the election, a United States citizen, and a resident of the state, county, and precinct for which you are voting. Most states also have requirements regarding felony convictions and mental competency. Additionally, most states require that you register in advance of Election Day, but some offer registration on Election Day. North Dakota is the only state that does not have any voter registration at all.
Before you can take part in the voting system, you have to register to vote. You can obtain voter registration forms from your Secretary of State website or from your local board of elections office. Thanks to the National Voter Registration Act, you can also access voter registration services at many state and local government agencies. This legislation, also know as the “motor voter law” requires states to make voter registration available in many public agencies, such as motor vehicle agencies, state office buildings, schools, and public libraries. Under this law, all states except for North Dakota and Wyoming are required to allow citizens to register by mail using a standardized mail-in registration form. In addition to easy and convenient voter registration, many states and counties have extended voting periods and the ability to register for absentee ballots. Absentee voting is a simple and flexible option that allows you to vote when it is convenient for you. Some states even allow you to register for an absentee ballot on permanent basis. There are some states that even offer online voter registration.
The State of Kansas, for example, allows citizens with a valid Kansas driver’s license or non-driver’s identification card to apply to register to vote for the first time, or to make changes to an existing registration online. This system links voter registration with the Revenue Department’s driver’s license database to verify information. The application will go to the home county election office, which will verify its authenticity and then send out a registration card to the applicant. The process takes about one week. As with traditional paper registration, a first-time voter in a county must show ID at his or her polling place on Election Day.
In the State of Utah, anyone with a current Utah’s driver’s license or state ID can register using their online system. Additionally, you can change your name or address on your voter registration record, affiliate with a party, change your party affiliation, or register as an absentee voter. You will need to submit your application 15 days prior to the upcoming election to be eligible to vote in that election; however, you will not be eligible for early voting unless you register at least 30 days prior to that election.
Indiana residents can also take advantage of submitting a voter registration application online by visiting the Indiana Statewide Voter Registration System. Residents with a valid Indiana driver’s license or Indiana state-issued identification card will be able to use this system to submit a new voter registration application or to update an existing voter registration record. In addition, residents will also have the ability to validate their voter registration status, find their polling place location, look into their provisional ballot status information, find county contact information, and review candidates and public questions that will be on their ballot for an upcoming election. The system is linked to the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles database and the Social Security Administration database to help verify voter registration application. The system also exchanges data with the Indiana Department of Health and Department of Correction to assist local election officials in their efforts to remove deceased and incarcerated voters convicted of crimes.
A great place to access voter registration and election information is at the Free Public Records Directory, Voter Records and Elections Information Resources page. There you can find voter registration records, polling locations, absentee ballot applications, election results, agency contact information, campaign disclosures, ballot measures, and lobbying activity. The Free Public Records Directory also provides access to many other types of public records, such as unclaimed property, permit and inspection records, warrants, Bar Associations, and more. Information can be found on the national, state, county and local levels.