Political Issues

How to Register to Vote—and Everything You Need to Know About Deadlines and Mail-in Ballots in Your State

Tehrene Firman

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Photo: Stocksy/Sean Locke

Your vote is incredibly important—it always has been and it always will be. With the current state of the country, putting the right people in power makes all the difference. But it isn’t easy for everyone to get to the polls to make sure their voices are heard.

Ahead of the presidential election on Tuesday, November 3, take the steps to register to vote as soon as possible using the state-by-state resources below, which includes information about how to register to vote online and by mail, registration deadlines, and how to apply for an absentee ballot. And if someone is trying to stop you from exercising your right to vote, call the Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-687-8683.

There’s currently a viral social media post making the rounds that October 20 is the real Election Day for mail-in voters. That’s because—due to potential delays from the pandemic—it’s being said to give yourself at least 14 days round trip in order to request and receive your ballot, vote, and mail it back in time. While this time frame isn’t completely accurate, as every state’s deadlines are different, some provide mail-in ballots without having to request them, and some allow mail-in ballots to be returned in person, it does make a great point: There’s never any harm in being an early bird to ensure your vote is counted.

How to register to vote in every state

1. Alabama

Deadline to register to vote: 15 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Alabama Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Alabama Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Alabama Secretary of State.

2. Alaska

Deadline to register to vote: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Alaska Division of Elections

Register to vote by mail: Alaska Division of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Alaska Division of Elections.

3. Arizona

Deadline to register to vote: 29 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or State of Arizona

Register to vote by mail: State of Arizona

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

4. Arkansas

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Arkansas.

Register to vote by mail: Arkansas Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Arkansas Secretary of State.

5. California

Deadline: 15 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or California Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Call 1-1800-345-8683 or email the Elections Division staff.

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Due to COVID-19, all registered voters will receive vote-by-mail ballots in the mail before the election.

6. Colorado

Deadline: 8 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Colorado Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Colorado Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

7. Connecticut

Deadline: 7 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or State of Connecticut

Register to vote by mail: State of Connecticut

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or State of Connecticut.

8. Delaware

Deadline: 24 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or State of Delaware.

Register to vote by mail: State of Delaware

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through State of Delaware.

9. Florida

Deadline: 29 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Florida Department of State

Register to vote by mail: Florida Division of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

10. Georgia

Deadline: 29 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Georgia Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Georgia Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Georgia Secretary of State.

11. Hawaii

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or State of Hawaii Office of Elections

Register to vote by mail: State of Hawaii Office of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or State of Hawaii Office of Elections.

12. Idaho

Deadline: 25 days before Election Day through mail and online, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or IdahoVotes.org

Register to vote by mail: Idaho Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

13. Illinois

Deadline: 16 days before Election Day online, 28 days before election day by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Illinois State Board of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Illinois State Board of Elections (available 8/5/2020).

14. Indiana

Deadline: 29 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Indiana Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Indiana Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Indiana Secretary of State.

15. Iowa

Deadline: 10 days before Election Day (or on Election Day) in person, 15 days before election day by mail, and 10 days before election day online.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Iowa DOT

Register to vote by mail: Iowa Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Iowa Secretary of State.

16. Kansas

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Kansas Secretary of State’s Office

Register to vote by mail: Kansas Secretary of State’s Office

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

17. Kentucky

Deadline: 29 days before Election day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Elections

Register to vote by mail: Commonwealth of Kentucky State Board of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org, or contact your County Clerk to request an absentee ballot application by phone, email, or in person using this directory.

18. Louisiana

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day in person and by mail, and 20 days before Election Day online.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Louisiana Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Louisiana Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Louisiana Secretary of State.

19. Maine

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Maine.

Register to vote by mail: Maine Department of the Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or through Maine Department of the Secretary of State.

20. Maryland

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day online or by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Maryland State Board of Elections (starting 6/15/20)

Register to vote by mail: Maryland State Board of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Maryland State Board of Elections (starting 6/15/20).

21. Massachusetts

Deadline: 20 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Register to vote by mail: Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

22. Michigan

Deadline: 15 days before Election Day online or by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Michigan Voter Information Center

Register to vote by mail: Michigan Voter Information Center

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Michigan Voter Information Center.

23. Minnesota

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day online or by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Minnesota Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Minnesota Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Minnesota Secretary of State.

24. Mississippi

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Mississippi.

Register to vote by mail: Mississippi Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Mississippi Secretary of State.

25. Missouri

Deadline: 27 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Missouri Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Missouri Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Missouri Secretary of State.

26. Montana

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day by mail.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Montana.

Register to vote by mail: Montana Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Montana Secretary of State.

27. Nebraska

Deadline: 18 days before Election Day online and by mail, and 11 days before Election Day in person.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Nebraska Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Nebraska Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

28. Nevada

Deadline: 28 days before Election Day by mail, by the Thursday preceding Election Day online, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Nevada Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Nevada Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Nevada Secretary of State.

29. New Hampshire

Deadline: 6 to 13 days before Election Day by mail, depending on your town or city (check with your clerk’s office), or in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in New Hampshire.

Register to vote in person or by mail: You can obtain a voter registration form in person at your town or city clerk’s office. You may also register by mail, but only if there’s a reason—religious, military, health, or otherwise—that you can’t register in person.

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one by contacting your town or city clerk.

30. New Jersey

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in New Jersey.

Register to vote by mail: New Jersey Division of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through New Jersey Division of Elections.

31. New Mexico

Deadline: 28 days before Election Day online or by mail, and until the Saturday before Election Day in person at your County Clerk’s Office.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or New Mexico Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: New Mexico Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or New Mexico Secretary of State.

32. New York

Deadline: 25 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or New York State Board of Elections

Register to vote by mail: New York State Board of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or New York State Board of Elections.

33. North Carolina

Deadline: 25 days before Election Day online or by mail, or at early voting sites during the early voting period.

Register to vote online: North Carolina DMV

Register to vote by mail: North Carolina State Board of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or North Carolina State Board of Elections.

34. North Dakota

Deadline: There is no deadline to register.

How to register to vote: North Dakota doesn’t require voter registration. You just need to be at least 18 years old, a North Dakota resident, and have proper identification.

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through North Dakota Secretary of State.

35. Ohio

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Ohio Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Ohio Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Ohio Secretary of State.

36. Oklahoma

Deadline: 25 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Oklahoma State Election Board

Register to vote by mail: Oklahoma State Election Board

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Oklahoma State Election Board.

37. Oregon

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Oregon Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Oregon Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Oregon Secretary of State.

38. Pennsylvania

Deadline: 15 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Pennsylvania Department of State

Register to vote by mail: Pennsylvania Department of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

39. Rhode Island

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day online or by mail. In Presidential elections only, you may register and vote on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Rhode Island Department of State

Register to vote by mail: Rhode Island Department of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Rhode Island Department of State.

40. South Carolina

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or South Carolina Election Commission

Register to vote by mail: South Carolina Election Commission

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or South Carolina Election Commission.

41. South Dakota

Deadline: 15 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in South Dakota.

Register to vote by mail: South Dakota Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or South Dakota Secretary of State.

42. Tennessee

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Tennessee Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Tennessee Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Tennessee Secretary of State.

43. Texas

Deadline: 30 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Texas.

Register to vote by mail: Texas Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Texas Secretary of State.

44. Utah

Deadline: No later than 5 p.m. 11 calendar days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Utah.gov

Register to vote by mail: Utah.gov

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org.

45. Vermont

Deadline: On Election Day in person, by mail by Election Day, online by or on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Vermont Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Vermont Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Vermont Secretary of State.

46. Virginia

Deadline: 22 days before Election Day for general and primary elections, 14 days before Election Day for special elections, and 7 days before Election Day for special elections called by the governor.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Virginia Department of Elections

Register to vote by mail: Virginia Department of Elections

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Virginia Department of Elections.

47. Washington

Deadline: 8 days before Election Day by mail or online, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or Washington Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: Washington Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or Washington Secretary of State.

48. West Virginia

Deadline: 21 days before Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or West Virginia Secretary of State

Register to vote by mail: West Virginia Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or West Virginia Secretary of State.

49. Wisconsin

Deadline: 20 days before Election Day by mail or online, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Vote.org or State of Wisconsin Elections Commission

Register to vote by mail: State of Wisconsin Elections Commission

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Vote.org or State of Wisconsin Elections Commission.

50. Wyoming

Deadline: 14 days before Election Day by mail, and in person on Election Day.

Register to vote online: Online registration isn’t available in Wyoming.

Register to vote by mail: Wyoming Secretary of State

Want an absentee ballot for the election? Apply for one through Wyoming Secretary of State.

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