first step in joining the electorate is registering to
vote. Voter registration is used to maintain the
integrity of the election process by assuring that
only eligible citizens vote on Election Day, and to
assure that they only vote once.
registration lists are also used by politicians to
help them win elections. In any given election, about
half of the citizens who are eligible to vote in a
given location will do so. To win, politicians only
need the support of half of the voters who show to
win, or about 25% of the total population. Politicians
use voter registration lists to determine which of
their constituents are most likely to vote, and then
concentrate their efforts on communicating with these
active citizens. If you are not on the voter
registration list then you cannot vote - and your
local politicians can ignore you without worrying
about losing your support on Election Day.
each local government and state has its own forms and
procedures for registering, there is a National
Registration Form, produced by the U.S. Electronic Assistance Commission. This form can be used in most
states to register to vote by mail*.
differ in their deadlines for registering prior to an
election, so be sure to check your state's election
calendar (Link to calendar page) so that you complete
the form in time.
general, you must register to vote 30 days prior to an
election to participate, although some states allow
you to register much later than that.
following states do not accept the National Voter
Hampshire - The form can only be used to request
an official form from your local election office.
Dakota does not have voter registration.
does not accept the National Registration Card.