The 2020 presidential election is November 3, and if you haven’t registered to vote yet, the time to do so is dwindling.
Experts say many voters will likely opt to mail in their ballot this year as a safety measure amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Considering widespread mail delays at the U.S. Postal Service, voters will need to act even earlier to make sure they’re registered and their ballot is delivered on time.
Luckily, a majority of states have made registering to vote more convenient for Americans.
A total of 40 states offer online registration, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL): Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.
One other state — Oklahoma — passed legislation and is currently phasing in implementation of their online registration.
Click here to begin the process of registering to vote. Vote.gov, the government’s official voter information website, allows users to select their state or territory to access more detailed information about where they live — including the voter registration deadline.
When a citizen registers to vote, they fill out a form (either paper or online) that is submitted to election officials, who then confirm the registration is valid and enter the voter’s information into the registration system.
To confirm its validity, election officials compare the information in the voter registration form against what was provided when he or she received a driver’s license or other state-issued identification card, according to the NCSL, a bipartisan organization that serves legislators and staff in all 50 states.
“The signature already on record with the state becomes the signature on record for voting. When the information does not match, the application is sent to officials for further review or action,” the NCSL states on its website.
In most states, anyone with a state-issued driver’s license or identification card can register to vote online. A few states provide online access for other potential voters as well. Paper registration forms are also available in every state for any potential voter, including those who cannot register online.
Earlier this month, Snapchat announced new tools aimed at empowering its young users to vote and learn about their voting options — including a feature that allows people to register to vote directly in the app.
Roughly 1 in 10 voters this November will be part of Generation Z, or those born after 1996, and will cast a ballot for the very first time, according to the Pew Research Center.
This story was reported from Cincinnati.