I think this fall’s election is going to be crucial to the future of our Republic. I think we’re in a constitutional crisis, and I think we need to take action. And the first, most important action is to vote, and to urge our friends and neighbors to do so.
But before you can vote you have to be registered. Are you? Are your friends? What about the best man at your wedding, who just moved to Chicago? Or your younger sister, who just turned eighteen and who is afraid about her boyfriend who is shipping out to Iraq? Or your mom, who’s stuck in the Medicare donut hole but hasn’t voted since the Nixon administration?
It’s late in the day, but there is still time. Today (September 22) is two weeks before the earliest registration deadline (October 6, Tennessee). That’s enough time for people to register, especially given that most states have registration materials online. And there is always the National Voter Registration Application, which can be accessed using GoVote.org and which is accepted by every state except New Hampshire and Wyoming. (GoVote also says “North Dakota,” but that is since North Dakota has no registration at all.)
Here is a list of voter registration deadlines for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. There are also links to downloadable online registration forms, locations where you can get registration forms, and residency requirements for individual states. The dates link back to the official state election calendars (except in Massachusetts and Utah, neither of which I could find). Quite a number of states have deadlines of “30 days before the election,” which this year falls on the Sunday before Columbus Day. In Mississippi, this means that the deadline is October 7, the previous Saturday, whereas in Texas the deadline is October 10.
We have to get the word out. Even if this were just any other election, it would still be important.
Because democracy is not a spectator sport.
[forms] = links where the state voter registration applications can be found
[residency] = links where information about length of residency for voting eligibility can be found. If there is no notation, then, as far as I can find out there is not requirement other than “be a resident of…. x”
[locations] = links to lists of locations where registration forms can be obtained, or where people can register, depending upon the state.
The information will be at the links, although sometimes you may need to scroll a bit to find it. It will be there. There are quite a number of state webmasters who should be taken out and shot. Just sayin’.
When I have noticed unusual requirements — a couple of states require you to register if you’ve gone more than four years without voting — I’ve noted them. There may be other states that require reregistration if you haven’t voted in a long time, but I didn’t see them. If you see any errors, please let me know so I can correct them right away. I did my best with this, but errors can occasionally happen.
ETA: One last note: after you have mailed in your registration, you should be receiving a registration card in the mail. If you don’t get one in two weeks, you would want to call your county election official about the status of your registration.
Idaho: October 13, for pre-registration. Election day registration is also available. [locations at prior link] [forms [pdf]][residency] Note: Idaho requires you to re-register if you have not voted in a primary or general election in the past four years.
Illinois: October 10, except for “grace period registration” [pdf] which closes October 24. During the grace period, people must register at their local election office, but they must vote absentee. [residency at prior pdf link, no online state form]
Maine: October 17, if registering by mail. You can register up to and on election day in person at your city hall or town office. [locations at prior link]
Nebraska: October 20 [pdf], last day for mail-in registrations or for registrations to be dropped of by third persons; October 27, last day to register in person at the county clerk’s/election commisioner’s office. [forms [pdf]] [locations]
Nevada: October 7, if registering by mail, October 17, if in person. Contact the County Clerk/ Registrar of voters. [No online state forms, can use Federal Voter Registration Application pdf][residency at prior link]
New Hampshire: October 28 [pdf] for regular registration with town clerks, or on election day. You can only register by mail if you are prevented from registering in person by military service, disability, religious beliefs, or temporary absence.
New Mexico: October 10. [pdf]
Texas: October 10 [forms] [Note: If you moved without updating your registration, you will be placed on a “suspense list” in the county you are registered in. If you then go two federal elections without voting, you will need to reregister before voting again.]
Utah: The 30th day before the election for mail-in registrations. I cannot find an election calendar anywhere on the website. In addition, you can register at a “satellite registration site” (no, they don’t define those, either) or the County Clerk’s office on the 15th and 18th day before the election. [previous link includes residency requirements] [forms [pdf]]
Vermont: October 30, by noon. Mail-in registrations and registrations at locations other than town or city clerk’s offices have to be received or postmarked before this date. [forms] Note: First time Vermont voters have to take the “Voter’s Oath,” which means that at the very least your application must be notarized. Or you can register at a town clerk’s office [locations of town clerks] or have it signed by a justice of the peace.
Wisconsin: October 18 by mail, November 6, in person at municipal clerk’s office, or on election day at the polling place. [Forms, plus requirements, at prior link]
Wyoming: October 9. Registration at polls allowed. [forms, also requirements: form must be signed by a notary or a registered agent; locations: Wyoming does not have a “motor-voter” law; the places you can register are office of the town clerk or county clerk where you reside, by mail, or at the polls on election day] If you did not vote in the 2004 general election, you must reregister.