Voter Education 101

Registering

 

Before Election Day

 

Becoming an Informed Voter

 

On Election Day

 

Please contact us if you would like to see additional questions added to this list!

 

 

Who may register to vote?

 

A person who is a:

  • U.S. Citizen, and
  • 18 years old on or before election day.

Many states also have eligibility requirements that disqualify citizens for felony conviction or mental incompetence. These eligilibilty requirements are listed on your state voter registration application form.

Return To Top

How can I register to vote?

 

Fill out the voter registration form online. It's fast, safe, and easy.

 

The U.S. Election Assistance Committee also provides National Mail Voter Registration Forms in English, Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. 

Return To Top

Are there deadlines for registration?

 

Yes. The deadlines vary by state, though most states require you to register 30 days before Election Day.  Deadlines for 2012 General Election are as follows:

 

*Information from Rock the Vote


State Voter Registration Deadline
Alabama October 26
Alaska October 8
Arizona October 8
Arkansas October 8
California October 22
Colorado October 8
Connecticut Postmarked by: October 23
Delaware October 13
District of Columbia October 9
Florida October 9
Georgia October 9
Hawaii October 8
Idaho October 12
Illinois October 9
Indiana October 9
Iowa October 27
Kansas

October 16

Kentucky October 9
Louisiana October 18
Maine October 15
Maryland October 16
Massachusetts October 17
Michigan October 9
Minnesota October 16
Mississippi October 6
Missouri October 10
Montana October 9
Nebraska

October 19

Nevada

Mail & Online: October 6

In Person: October 16

New Hampshire

Same day at polls - to be in the system, 10 days before Election Day

New Jersey October 16
New Mexico October 9
New York October 12
North Carolina October 12
North Dakota N/A
Ohio October 9
Oklahoma October 12
Oregon October 16
Pennsylvania October 8
Rhode Island October 8
South Carolina October 8
South Dakota October 22
Tennessee October 9
Texas October 8
Utah

Mail: October 8th

Online or in-person: October 22nd

Vermont October 31
Virginia October 15
Washington October 8
West Virginia October 16
Wisconsin

October 17

Wyoming October 23
 
Return To Top

I'm a college student living away from home. Where should I register?

You can register either at your home or school address.  If your home and school states differ, use countmore.org to find out where your vote will have the most impact.   If you're registered at your home address while you're at school, remember to request an absentee ballot at least 30 days before the election and note the deadlines (see "Are there other ways to vote?").

 


Return To Top

What must I do if I've changed my address since I registered?

 

If you have moved within the same city or town, notify your local election office of your new address in writing. You will need register to vote again when:

  • You move to a new city or town, or
  • You change your name, or
  • You change your political party affiliation.

Register now. It's fast, safe, and easy.

Return To Top

I have a friend who is a U.S. citizen who doesn't speak English. Where can I get assistance for him/her?

Section 203 of the Voting Rights Act requires local election officials to provide bilingual voter registration applications, ballots and language assistance when a certain percentage of the population of the jurisdiction is comprised of a language minority group.

Section 203 covers Asian Pacific American voters in
sixteen counties.  (You must have Adobe Acrobat Reader to view this list.)

Even if your county is not covered by Section 203, some states independently provide election materials in a language other than English. Contact your
State Election Office to see if these resources are available.

Return To Top

Are there other ways to vote besides going to the polls?

 

Can't make it to the polls on election day? Vote absentee or take advantage of early voting!

All states are required to have absentee ballot (vote by mail) programs to allow citizens with disabilities and overseas military personnel to vote.  States also allow early mail-in or in-person absentee voting for other reasons such as work obligations or being out of town for vacation or school. 

Contact your local elections office (click on the "Make your Vote Count: Absentee and Early Voting") for specific information about absentee voting in your area.  The 2008 absentee voting deadlines are:

 

*Information from canivote.org, a website maintained by the National Association of Secretaries of State, the nation's oldest, nonpartisan professional association for public officials. 

 

 

State Absentee Ballot Application Deadline Absentee Ballots Due By

Alabama

Received by the Thursday before the election Postmarked by the day BEFORE the election and received by noon on election day (if it is mailed); received by 5pm on the day BEFORE the election (if it is hand-delivered)

Alaska

Received 10 days before the election Postmarked on election day
Arizona Received by 5pm 11 days before the election Received by 7pm on election day

Arkansas

Received by the Tuesday before the election (by mail); Received by close of business the day before the election (in person) Received by 7:30pm on election day

California

Received 7 days before the election Received by the close of polls on election day

Colorado

Received by the Tuesday before the election Received by the close of polls on election day

Connecticut

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least 2 weeks before the election Received by 8pm on election day (by mail); received by the day before the election (in person)

Delaware

Received by the Friday before the election Received by 8pm on election day
District of Columbia Received by the Tuesday before the election Postmarked by election day

Florida

Received by 5pm on the Wednesday before the election Received by 7pm election day

Georgia

Received by the close of business on the Friday before the election Received 7pm election day

Hawaii

Received by 4:30pm on the Tuesday before the election Received by close of polls election day

Idaho

Received by the Wednesday before the election Received by 8pm election day

Illinois

Received by the Thursday before the election (by mail)
Received by the day before the election (in person)
Postmarked the day before the election

Indiana

Received 8 days before the election Received by close of polls election day

Iowa

Received by 5 PM on the Friday before the election Postmarked by the day BEFORE the election and received by noon on the Monday after the election

Kansas

As early as 90 days before the election, up until the Friday before the election Received by 7:00 PM on election day

Kentucky

Received by the Tuesday before the election Received by 6:00 PM on election day

Louisiana

No earlier than 60 days before the election, but received by the Friday before the election Received the day BEFORE Election Day

Maine

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least two weeks before the election. Received by 8pm on election day

Maryland

4:30 PM on the Tuesday before Election Day (mailed)
11:59 PM on the Tuesday before Election Day (faxed)

8:00 PM election day (in person)
Postmarked on or before Election Day (by mail)

Massachusetts

Received by noon the day before the election Received before 8:00 PM on Election Day

Michigan

Received by 2:00 PM on the Saturday before the election (by mail); 
Requested the day before the election (in person)
Received by 8:00 PM on Election Day

Minnesota

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least two weeks before the election.  Received on or before Election Day

Mississippi

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least two weeks before an election. Received by 5pm on the day BEFORE the election

Missouri

Received by 5pm on the Wednesday before the election. Received by close of polls election day

Montana

Received by noon on the day before the election. Received before close of polls election day.

Nebraska

Received by 4pm on the Wednesday before the election. Received by 8pm Central Time (7pm Mountain Time) election day

Nevada

Received by 5pm on the Tuesday before the election Received by 7pm on election day

New Hampshire

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least 2 weeks before the election. Received by 5pm on election day.

New Jersey

(By mail): received by the Tuesday before the election; (in person): by 3PM on the day before the election. Received by 8PM on election day

New Mexico

Received by 5PM on the Friday before the election. received by 7PM on election day.

New York

(By mail): received by the Tuesday before the election. (In person): by the day before the election. Postmarked by the day BEFORE the election and received the 7th day after the election.

North Carolina

Received by the Tuesday before the election Received by 5PM the day before the election.

North Dakota

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least 2 weeks before the election. (By mail): postmarked the day before the election; (in person): handed in the day before the election

Ohio

Received by noon on the Saturday before the election. Received by the close of polls on election day.

Oklahoma

Received by 5PM on the Wednesday before the election. Received 7pm election day

Oregon

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least 2 weeks before the election. Received 8pm election day

Pennsylvania

Received by 5pm on the Tuesday before the election. Received by 5pm on the FRIDAY BEFORE the election

Rhode Island

Received by 4pm on the Tuesday before the election; (emergency ballot): Received by 4pm on the day before Election Day Received 9pm on election day

South Carolina

Received by 5:00pm four days before the election Received by 7:00pm on election day

South Dakota

Received 3pm on election day Received by close of polls election day

Tennessee

Received by the Tuesday before the election Received by close of polls election day

Texas

Received by the close of business on the Tuesday before the election. Received by close of polls election day

Utah

Received the Friday before the election. By mail: Postmarked the day before Election Day and received by noon, no later than the first day of canvassing (usually the Monday following an election). In person:  Received at the county clerk's office by the Friday before the election.

Vermont

Must be received by the day before an election. Close of polls on election day.

Virginia

Received by the Tuesday before election day. Received close of polls election day.

Washington

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least two weeks before the election
Postmarked on or before election day

West Virginia

Received the Wednesday before the election Postmarked by Election Day and received by the canvass day

Wisconsin

Received by 5:00 PM on the Thursday before Election Day Received by 8:00 PM Election Day

Wyoming

No specific deadline. We recommend requesting your ballot at least two weeks before the election. Received 7pm election day

 

 

Return To Top

How do I verify that my voter registration was received and processed correctly? 

 

If you have not received written confirmation in two to three weeks, contact your local elections office to confirm your registration or refer to www.canivote.org.

Return To Top

Where do I vote on election day?

 

After submitting your voter registration application, you should receive a confirmation letter indicating your polling site.  You can also use an online polling place finder.

Return To Top

Who is running for office in my district and what initiatives are on the ballot?

 

Learn about the Presidential candidates here.  For further information on local candidates, elections and ballot initiatives check out Project Vote Smart, a citizen's organization dedicated to providing information about elections, or Vote411.org, a comprehensive election site by the League of Women Voters.

Return To Top

How do I obtain information about major political parties in the United States?


To learn about more political parties in the US, visit  Project Vote Smart.

Return To Top

I would like to understand how the federal government affects my life on a daily basis.  How can I learn more about how the government is supposed to serve me?

Refer to www.firstgov.gov.  This is a one-stop shopping site about government services to help Americans across the country and world find the information  they need.

Return To Top

What issues affect Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders?

 

Check out our Issues and Candidates pages.  The National Council of Asian Pacific Americans created the Call to Action: Platform for Asian Pacific Americans National Policy Priorites 2008, which discusses numerous policy issues that affect the AAPI community.

Return To Top

What are my rights as a voter?

 

If you are at the correct polling site but a poll worker says your registration cannot be verified, you have a right to a provisional ballot.  The provisional ballot will allow you to cast your vote, but it will only be counted after your registration has been verified following the election.  To learn about more of your rights, visit the Voter Rights page.

 

Return To Top

 

What is the 2012 Presidential Primary/Caucus Schedule?


NOTE:  Information was provided by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). Founded in 1904, it is the oldest, nonpartisan professional organization of public officials in the United States. Members include the 50 states, the District of Columbia, American Samoa and Puerto Rico.


Some contests on this list are not binding; delegate selection may be carried out at separate party conventions/caucuses.  Some party caucuses are held over the course of several weeks or months.  Dates listed here denote the start of the process.


JANUARY 2012


January 3:  Iowa Caucuses


January 10:  New Hampshire Primary


January 21:  Nevada Democratic Party Caucus, South Carolina Primary


January 31: Florida Primary



FEBRUARY 2012


February 4: Maine Republican Party Caucus, Nevada Republican Party Caucus


February 7: Colorado Republican Party Caucus, Minnesota Party Caucuses, Missouri Primary 


February 28: Arizona Primary, Michigan Primary



MARCH 2012


March 3: Washington Republican Party Caucus


March 6: Alaska Republican Party Caucus, Colorado Democratic Party Caucus, Georgia Primary, Idaho Republican Party Caucus, Massachusetts Primary, North Dakota Republican Party Caucus, Ohio Primary, Oklahoma Primary, Tennessee Primary, Vermont Primary, Virginia Primary, U.S. Virgin Islands Caucus, Wyoming Republican Party Caucus


March 7:  Hawaii Democratic Caucus


March 10: Kansas Republican Party Caucus


March 11: Maine Democratic Party Caucus


March 13: Alabama Primary, American Samoa Republican Party Caucus, Hawaii Republican Party Caucus, Mississippi Primary, Utah Democratic Caucus


March 17: Missouri Republican Party Caucus


March 20: Illinois Primary


March 24: Louisiana Primary



APRIL 2012


April 3: District of Columbia Primary, Maryland Primary, Texas Primary, Wisconsin Primary


April 14: Idaho Democratic Party Caucus, Kansas Democratic Party Caucus, Nebraska Democratic Party Caucus, Wyoming Democratic Party Caucus


April 15: Alaska Democratic Party Caucus, Washington Democratic Party Caucus


April 24: Connecticut Primary, Delaware Primary, New York Primary, Pennsylvania Primary, Rhode Island Primary



MAY 2012


May 5:  Florida Democratic Caucus, Michigan Democratic Party Caucus


May 8: Indiana Primary, North Carolina Primary, West Virginia Primary


May 15: Idaho Primary (non-binding; remains subject to cancellation/change by the state legislature), Nebraska Primary, Oregon Primary


May 22: Arkansas Primary, Kentucky Primary



JUNE 2012


June 5: California Primary, Montana Primary, New Jersey Primary, New Mexico Primary, North Dakota Democratic/NPL Party Caucus, South Dakota Primary


June 26: Utah Primary



AUGUST 2012


August 27-30: Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida



SEPTEMBER 2012


September 3-6: Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina

Return To Top
 

 

 What do I do if I think I've been treated unfairly on election day?

 

Don't hesitate to call the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund's toll-free Election Day Hotline at 800-966-5946, or by e-mail at votingcomplaints@aaldef.org.

Return To Top