Video:What Are the Requirements to Vote?with Roger Weiss
Before voting, the voter needs to meet certain requirements under U.S. law. Watch this About.com video to learn more about what makes a person eligible to vote.See Transcript
Transcript:What Are the Requirements to Vote?
Hey I’m Roger Weiss with About.com. Today we are going to discuss the requirements a person must meet in order to vote a U.S. election.
Most States Require Votes to Register
While many issues revolving around voting differ between states, there are a number of national requirements a person must meet in order to become eligible for voting. Once the national requirements are met, most states then require voters to register to vote prior to the election.
Voters Must be at Least 18 Years Old by Election Day
There are three requirements a person must meet in order to become an eligible voter in the United States. First, a person must be a legal U.S. citizen. Then the citizen must be at least 18 years old by the day of the election. If a person will be turning 18 near the date of the election, it is best to register to vote prior to his or her eighteenth birthday.
Potential voters must also be legal residents of the state in which they are preparing to vote. The time frame necessary to reside in a state before becoming a legal resident varies by state but is no more than 30 days.
Conditions for Revoked Voting Rights
Even if these previous requirements are met, a person with a felony conviction on their record, currently serving time, or on parole for a felony may not be able to vote depending on the state. Additionally, mental incompetence may also be grounds for revoking a person’s voting rights.
How to Register to Vote
Registering to vote varies by state, but every state must allow eligible citizens to register when renewing or applying for a new driver’s license or for social services such as food stamps. Other places with registration information include state and local government offices, libraries, public schools, and city and county clerk offices. Additionally, a person may register through the mail by contacting the local voting office.
To register in person, an eligible voter should present their driver’s license, social security card, or other proof of address. Even without this, a voter ID number will be provided once they have been registered. Additionally, many states require voters to declare a political party affiliation when registering in order to vote in primary elections. If a voter declares ‘no party’, some states will limit their voting to general elections and non-partisan offices and ballot measures in the primary elections.
If you have any questions regarding your particular state’s requirements, contact a local voting office.
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