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How voter registration works across the United States
Voter registration. It’s the first step citizens take to exercise their right to vote. But the rules and requirements vary from state to state.
Here to explain is Straight Arrow News Contributor Professor Daron Shaw.
Shaw says: “It’s important to remember that we do not register nationally in the United States. Rather we register at the level of the county. County level registration ensures voters are assigned to precincts so that they are voting for people who will actually represent them in government.”
But first – why are voters required to register?
Shaw says: “If voters are registered to vote it’s easier to prevent them from voting multiple times, from voting in an incorrect jurisdiction or making some other such area, either intentionally or otherwise.”
42 states and DC offer online registration.
The rest require applications by mail or in person.
To complete your registration, you need proof of residency. That includes a drivers license, a paycheck or utility bill, among other options. Next, you need a photo ID, or your social security number.
Shaw says: “So even in states that don’t require Voter ID in order to vote, in order to register you do have to provide a photo identification.”
Finally – when can you register?
In 30 states, there are set deadlines – usually 8 to 30 days before the election.
20 states plus DC offer same day registration. Meaning you can walk into the polling location, register, and cast your ballot on election day.
Shaw said: “So if you think of voting as a two step process in the united states, first you have to register then you have to cast a ballot, that first step is essentially done simultaneously with the second step. So it really is a one step process.”
To learn about state specific deadlines and requirements visit vote.gov. For more information on voting and elections in America, continue watching our series on youtube or straightarrownews.com.
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In addition to the facts, we believe it’s vital to hear perspectives from all sides of the political spectrum. We hope these different voices will help you reach your own conclusions.
The opinions published in this section are solely those of the contributors and do not reflect the views of Straight Arrow News.
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