What are the requirements to vote in federal elections?
- You are a U.S. citizen (either by birth or naturalization)
- You meet your state's residency requirements
- You are 18 year old. (Some states allow 17-year-olds to vote in primaries or register to vote if they will be 18 before the general election).
Help American Vote Act
HAVA's requirements do not necessarily apply to all registered voters, though. Those who were registered prior to the law's enactment in 2002 are not covered. HAVA's voter ID requirements apply only to voters who are newly registering or re-registering in a different county or location since 2002.
Types of Acceptable HAVA Identification
Under HAVA, individuals who are registering to vote must provide their current valid driver's license number, if they have one. If they do not have one, then they must provide the last four digits of their Social Security Number (SSN). If they do not have either of these forms of identification, then they will have to provide proof of identity at the polling booth when they go to vote.
The following are some examples of documents allowed in some states to establish identity at a voting booth (states may require one or more of certain types of these documents):
- a driver's license or state ID card
- employee ID
- student ID
- military ID
- utility bills
- bank statements
You should check with your local election authorities or your state's government elections office for a complete list of the specific documents allowed by your state.
Note that if a person is entitled to vote by absentee ballot or a method other than in-person voting, either pursuant to the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act or the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, then he or she is exempt from HAVA’s identification requirements.
Speak to an Experienced Right to Vote Attorney Today
This article is intended to be helpful and informative. But even common legal matters can become complex and stressful. A qualified right to vote lawyer can address your particular legal needs, explain the law, and represent you in court. Take the first step now and contact a local right to vote attorney to discuss your specific legal situation.
Additional Right to Vote Articles
- Registering to Vote
- What is the National Voter Registration Act of 1993?
- What is the Voting Rights Act?
- What is the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984? What other legal protections exist for elderly and disabled voters?
- Regaining the Right to Vote Following a Criminal Conviction
- What is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act?
- How does a person register to vote?
- What identification information is required in order to register to vote in a federal election?
- How and where do I register to vote absentee?
- When is the best time to apply for an absentee ballot?
- What are the deadlines for requesting an absentee ballot?
- What are the deadlines for submitting an absentee ballot?
- How do I change my address on my voter registration record?
- What is the National Voter Registration Act?
- What is the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act of 1986?
- What is the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984?
- What federal law protects me from discrimination in voting?
- What is the Voting Rights Act?
- Does the Voting Rights Act protect language minorities?
- What kinds of racial discrimination does the Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibit?
- How can I make a discrimination complaint under the Voting Rights Act?
- Who enforces the Voting Rights Act of 1965?
- How does the U.S. Justice Department investigate voting discrimination complaints?
- How do I make a complaint about voting discrimination?
- Whom can I contact about campaign finances issues?
- Is there a federal law that protects me from discrimination in voting?
- Does the U.S. Justice Department enforce any other federal voting laws?
- If I believe that voter fraud has occurred, what do I do?
State Right to Vote Articles
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota