Voter Registration Deadlines by State

In all states except North Dakota, you must meet the voter registration deadline in 2020 to participate in local, state and national elections.

Each state sets its own deadline for registration. It is typically 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 round of elections. As such, it is important to know the deadline for your state so you can complete the voter registration process ahead of time.

There are usually several voting deadlines in place, depending on the election and the submission method used to register. For instance, applicants who are living overseas will likely have an earlier deadline than those in the U.S. Furthermore, primary and general elections have different registration deadlines.

To learn more about the voter registration deadline in 2020, review the sections below.

Deadlines to Know About

The last day to register to vote will depend on the type of election taking place, along with the method used to 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 political affiliation will then move on to the general election to represent the party.
  • 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 method you use to register will also determine your last date for voter registration. For instance, in Colorado, you can register to vote up until Election Day. However, if doing so by mail or online, you must do so eight days before the election. In other states, the deadline stays the same across all registration methods.

National Voter Registration Day

National Voter Registration Day is a national holiday that promotes voter registration, but it is not the last day you can register to vote.

The holiday takes place 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.

Beginning back in 2012, the goal of National Voter Registration Day has been to increase voter turnout, as many citizens are unable to vote because they miss the voter registration deadlines.

Keep in mind that this holiday is not the last day to vote or register to vote, as that is determined at the state level. Instead, the day spreads awareness about the importance of voting and registration opportunities at the local level.

How to Register to Vote

There are several ways to register to vote, depending on the state in which you live. Some states allow residents to register to vote online or by mail while others require in-person registrations.

However, before you begin the process, you must first check your voter registration eligibility. 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 may obtain a voter registration card. If registering online, you must access your state’s voter registration site. In some states, the Secretary of State office handles these requests while in others, it is the department of motor vehicles (DMV) or another state office.

The next step involves filling out the voter registration form. You must provide 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.

Upon approval, you will likely receive a voter ID registration card or certificate. You may not need it when heading to the polls. However, you must always have proof of identification when going to a polling station in your state.

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, which is available in multiple languages, and submit it to your local election office. If you will still be overseas on Election Day, you may request an absentee ballot to ensure that 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.