ELECTION 2015: Make a difference

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, September 18, 2015

With Election Day only weeks away, it is critical that you act now to ensure your voice is heard.

For most states, you can register to vote in person or via 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.

Nearly half of all states use the Internet to simplify the voter registration process.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 22 states – Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Washington – offer online paperless registration. Five more states – Florida, Nebraska, New Mexico, Oklahoma and West Virginia – have adopted rules allowing people to register online but haven’t yet implemented the process.

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 make their voices heard no matter where they happen to be on Election Day.

Each state has a different deadline for voter registration. Fifteen states require registration at least 30 days before Election Day. They are Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

In 21 states, the registration deadline is 20 to 29 days before Election Day. They are Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia and West Virginia.

Eight states also offer same-day registration – Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming – which means you can register and vote at the same time, but only if you have a photo ID with your address on it.

The remaining states have registration deadlines that vary between the day before and 19 days before Election Day.

Any time you move – even across the street – you must reregister. The exception is North Dakota, where no registration is required. It is worth noting that P.O. boxes are not acceptable to establish residency.

If you registered in the past, but haven’t voted for a few years, contact your local election office before the deadline to make sure your registration is still active.

To register, visit VoteSmart.org and select your home state in the drop down menu.

For more 2015 election coverage from Land Line, click here.

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