Your voice matters

Deadline to register

Deadlines for voter registration are all over the map, but in many states you need to register at least 20 days before heading to the voting booth. See Page 55 for your state's elections office phone number and web addresses.

Rules for registering

For most states you can register to vote in person or by mail. Depending on your state, you may be able to print your registration form from a website or pick one up in person from the DMV, local board of elections office, post office, library or other locations designated by state officials.

About three-fourths of all states either use or are in the process of taking advantage of the internet to simplify the voter registration process.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 31 states - Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia - offer online paperless registration. Seven more states - Florida, Idaho, Ohio, Oklahoma, Rhode Island, Tennessee and Wisconsin - have adopted rules allowing people to register online but haven't yet implemented the process.

If you reside in the latter group of states you will need to register in person or by mail for the fall election.

Who can vote??

As long as you're 18 or older, an American citizen, and a resident of the state where you're planning to register, you have an equal chance to decide who you want to run your country, your state, your region and your town.

Where to vote

After you've sent in your registration form, your state will mail out details about your polling place. Some states will send a voter registration ID card, which you may be required to show at the polls. Other states require a photo ID when voting.

Many states also offer advance voting, voting by mail and absentee voting - making it possible for truckers to have their voices heard no matter where they happen to be on Election Day.