In all states except North Dakota, you must meet the voter registration deadline in 2020 to vote in local, state and national elections.
Each state sets its own deadline for registration. It is usually between 15 and 30 days before Election Day.
If you miss the cut-off date, you will not be able to vote until the next election. That’s why it’s important to know the deadline for your state so you can complete the voter registration process ahead of time.
There are usually a few different voting deadlines, depending on the election and the way you decide to register. For instance, applicants who are living overseas will probably have an earlier deadline than those in the U.S. Also, primary and general elections have different registration deadlines.
Deadlines to Know About
The last day to register to vote will depend on the type of election taking place, along with the way you register. There are two main types of presidential elections:
- During the primary election, U.S. citizens cast a vote for one party’s candidate. The winner (or winners, depending on the state) from each party will then move on to the general election.
- During the general election, winners from each political party will go against each other to determine the final winner of the election.
Deadlines to register to vote will vary based on the election and the state.
The way you register will also affect your last date for voter registration. For instance, in Colorado, you can register to vote in person up until Election Day. However, if you’re registering by mail or online, you must do so eight days before the election. In some states, the deadline stays the same across all registration methods.
National Voter Registration Day
National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday that encourages people to register to vote, but it is not the last day you can register.
The holiday happens every year on the fourth Tuesday of September. During this day, volunteers reach out to U.S. citizens and register them to vote. In 2018, over 800,000 citizens completed same-day voter registrations.
How to Register to Vote
There are a few ways to register to vote, depending on your state. Some states allow you to register to vote online or by mail while others require in-person registrations.
However, before you begin the process, you need to make sure you’re eligible to vote. Not everyone living in the U.S. is eligible to vote in local and national elections. You only register to vote if you are a U.S. citizen and:
- Are at least 18 years of age on or before Election Day.
- Do not have felony convictions (depending on the state).
- Have not been declared “mentally incapacitated” (depending on the state).
Once you verify your eligibility, you can get a voter registration card. In some states, the Secretary of State office handles voting applications. In others, it is another state office.
The next step is filling out the voter registration form. You’ll need to give some personal information, including:
- Your full name.
- Your date of birth.
- Your driver’s license or ID number.
- Your address.
- Your Social Security Number (SSN).
After completing the form, you can submit it and wait to receive an application approval from your elections office.
Then, you’ll likely receive a voter ID registration card or certificate. In many states, this card is just for your records and is not required when you’re heading to the polls.
Note: If you are currently living overseas or on active duty outside of the U.S., you can still register to vote. You must fill out a national form and turn it into your local election office. If you will still be overseas on Election Day, you need an absentee ballot to make sure your vote is counted in the election.
2019–2020 Voter Registration Deadlines by State
|State||In Person||By Mail||Online|
|Alabama||15 days before||15 days before||15 days before|
|Alaska||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|Arizona||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Arkansas||30 days before||30 days before||N/A|
|California||15 days before||15 days before||15 days before|
|Colorado||Election Day||8 days before||8 days before|
|Connecticut||Election Day||7 days before||7 days before|
|Delaware||24 days before||24 days before||24 days before|
|District of Columbia||Election Day||21 days before||21 days before|
|Florida||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Georgia||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Hawaii||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Idaho||Election Day||25 days before||25 days before|
|Illinois||Election Day||28 days before||16 days before|
|Indiana||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Iowa||10 days before||15 days before||10 days before|
|Kansas||21 days before||21 days before||21 days before|
|Kentucky||29 days before||29 days before||29 days before|
|Louisiana||30 days before||30 days before||20 days before|
|Maine||Election Day||21 days before||N/A|
|Maryland||5 days before||21 days before||21 days before|
|Massachusetts||20 days before||20 days before||20 days before|
|Michigan||30 days before||30 days before||N/A|
|Minnesota||Election Day||21 days before||21 days before|
|Mississippi||30 days before||30 days before||N/A|
|Missouri||27 days before||27 days before||27 days before|
|Montana||Election Day||30 days before||N/A|
|Nebraska||11 days before||18 days before||18 days before|
|Nevada||21 days before||28 days before||19 days before|
|New Hampshire||Election Day||13 days before||N/A|
|New Jersey||21 days before||21 days before||N/A|
|New Mexico||28 days before||28 days before||28 days before|
|New York||25 days before||25 days before||25 days before|
|North Carolina||3 days before||25 days before||N/A|
|North Dakota||No need to register, just bring ID to polls|
|Ohio||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|Oklahoma||25 days before||25 days before||N/A|
|Oregon||21 days before||21 days before||21 days before|
|Pennsylvania||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|Rhode Island||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|South Carolina||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|South Dakota||15 days before||15 days before||N/A|
|Tennessee||30 days before||30 days before||30 days before|
|Texas||30 days before||30 days before||N/A|
|Utah||Election Day||30 days before||7 days before|
|Vermont||Election Day||Election Day||Election Day|
|Virginia||22 days before||22 days before||22 days before|
|Washington||Election Day||8 days before||8 days before|
|West Virginia||21 days before||21 days before||21 days before|
|Wisconsin||Election Day||20 days before||20 days before|
|Wyoming||Election Day||14 days before||N/A|
Note: For by-mail deadlines, the application must be postmarked by the deadline date.