Voting is one of the most basic building blocks of a just democracy. When you register to vote, you're able to participate in elections and make your voice heard.
But if you don’t register to vote before the election, you might find yourself ineligible and unable to cast a ballot come November.
Although registering to vote can seem confusing, the process is quite straightforward. Our partner HeadCount is here to help make sure you you have everything you need to be prepared on Election Day.
Here are five things to keep in mind when registering to vote.
1. Can I register online?
Yes, you can register to vote online in some states. More states are allowing people to register online if they have a driver’s license or a non-driver’s ID card issued by the state. You can check if you're eligible in your state here.
In other states, even if the form is available online, you will still need to print the form, complete it, and send it to the state election office or the county election office.
If you're not sure if you're registered to vote, you can check your registration status here. If you do need to register, you can start the process here. You can also find a list of state election offices you can call if you need help finding out where to mail or drop off your completed registration form.
2. What if I don't have access to a printer?
If you don’t own a printer, you can ask your friends and family if they can print the form for you. If you can’t find any printers, most libraries will have one that you can use. Some libraries even have pre-printed voter registration forms.
Instead of trying to print the form, you can also register at any DMV or election office. You’ll find the number for your state election office here, and they will direct you to a local office.
3. What if I don't know some of the information that I need to complete the form?
You should try to complete all the required sections of the form to the best of your ability. It is much better to write “to the best of my knowledge” next to a section you are not sure about than leave it blank.
There are different rules in different states about what qualifies as a complete form and how to treat incomplete forms.
4. Can someone else fill out the form for me and I can sign it?
In some states, anyone who assists in filling out voter registration forms must also sign and date the form. Since the laws vary, you should complete the forms yourself, if you're able.
5. How do I register for a presidential primary or caucus?
Registering to vote for these types of elections varies depending on your state guidelines. In some states, primaries are open to all eligible voters, while others have closed primaries that require you to be registered with the party before the general voter registration deadline. In other states, unaffiliated voters can select a party on Election Day or Caucus Day.
The best way to know what the guidelines are in your state is to check HeadCount’s Voter Info Hub and make sure you're prepared.
Global Citizen and HeadCount have teamed up to launch Just Vote, a campaign mobilizing young Americans to register to vote ahead of the 2020 election and beyond. As part of the campaign, your favorite artists and entertainers are offering exclusive experiences, performances, and memorabilia — and they can only be unlocked once eligible voters check their voter registration status. Learn more about Just Vote and how you can take action here.