Texans, the deadline for voting in the November 4 election is October 6, 2014. If you haven’t registered, go now to VoteTexas.gov and get the registration information.
Voting Season is fast approaching, and before you register to vote there are certain things you must know, especially regarding accessibility to voting and information for U.S. voters living overseas and those in the military. Take a look at how registration works before you even research your candidates, especially if you’re a first time voter this year.
Eligibility To Vote
Voter eligibility varies from state to state. In most states, the legal age to vote is 18. However, in some states 17-year olds have the right to vote. Residency requirements may also vary from one state to another. If you have questions about voter requirements in your state, you should contact your state election office. You must be a U.S. citizen, or a naturalized citizen to vote.
How Registration Works
The National Mail Voter Registration Form is used for United States citizens to register to vote. The form is also used update your voter registration information, change your name or address, or to register with one of the political parties. The instructions are very detailed and are state specific, so you must follow the instructions for your state. However, a few states don’t accept the form. They include North Dakota and Wyoming. New Hampshire only uses the form as a request for an absentee ballot. The form isn’t acceptable in Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. In some places, you may be able to register in person.
State Registration Deadlines
The deadline to register is different in each state. The deadline may be anywhere between one or two, to thirty days before the election. If you don’t know what the deadline is in the state or territory you live in, you should contact your local or state election office.
Students and U.S. Citizens Overseas
Students may register to vote where they’re attending college. If you receive your mail at the post office, you may sign an affidavit, or get a letter from your school stating that you’re a student. U.S citizens who live abroad or are in the armed forces must abide by different rules. The Federal Voting Assistance Program provides more information.
Your Civil Rights and Voting
According to Druyon Law, there are communities in the United States where voter suppression, and racial and ethnic discrimination still exist. An organization of lawyers known as the Voting Right Project advocates voting rights reforms and works to ensure the enforcement of voting laws. Be aware of your rights as a voter. If you feel you’re the victim of voter discrimination, you should contact a lawyer to find out what your rights are.
The time to vote is growing closer. As the dates to register approach, make sure you know what to expect, and most of all your rights as a voter. Do your research beforehand, and make sure you have filled out the proper paperwork.
This article is from Brooke Chaplan, a freelance writer and blogger. She lives and works out of her home in Los Lunas, New Mexico. She loves the outdoors and spends most her time hiking, biking and gardening. For more information contact Brooke via Twitter @BrookeChaplan.