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.