Fifteen States Currently Allow Election Day Voter Registration

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For millions of people it’s not too late to register to vote. Fifteen states allow residents to show up at the polls on Election Day, register, and then vote. Generally identification and proof of address is all that’s required to register and vote. So for millions who want to have their voice heard and ballot counted on Nov. 6, it’s not too late.

Known as Election Day registration, the prospective voter must present proof of residency at the time of registration or soon after registering. A current driver’s license or ID card will suffice in all states. In some states, documents such as a paycheck or utility bill with an address is acceptable for proving residence. A few states also permit an already-registered voter to vouch for the residency of an Election Day registrant.

Washington D.C. and 15 states permit voter registration on Election Day with some exclusions, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont, Wisconsin and Wyoming. There are some restrictions as to time frame, provisional voting, and place, for example, not all voting precincts permit folks to just walk in and pull a lever; there are in many cases certain counties, communities and polling places one must visit. But for the person committed to voting and not yet registered in these 15 states, it’s not too late.

A number of secretaries of state caution that lines may be long for Election Day registrants.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, here’s what you need to know about Election Day registration state-by-state:

California

California enacted a law that allows for what it calls Conditional Voter Registration. A resident can “conditionally” register and vote at their respective county elections office up to Election Day. According to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, those ballots are “processed once the county elections office has completed the voter registration verification process. Voters can complete the conditional voter registration process from October 23 all the way through Election Day on November 6.”

Residents can check to see where conditional voter registration is available here and are able to search by county or city. And, voters in the five counties adopting the Voter’s Choice Act–Madera, Napa, Nevada, Sacramento, and San Mateo–can access conditional voter registration at any Vote Center in their county. Voter’s in these counties can find a list of Vote Centers using the My Voter Status Tool here.

Colorado

According to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams, state law allows residents to register to vote through Election Day. Residents may appear in person at a voter service and polling center in your county through Election Day where you can register to vote and then vote in person or pick up a ballot.

Statewide vote centers. Any eligible voter can register or update voter registration from any county in the state. However, the voter’s unique ballot style will only be available within his/her county. A registered voter from an outside county will only receive a ballot for statewide races.

Voters are required to show a Colorado state driver’s license or ID card issued by the Department of Revenue, and complete and sign a self-affirmation and affidavit. Colorado developed its own e-poll book system that is networked to communicate with the statewide voter registration database in real time. All jurisdictions have access to the system to check that a new registrant has not registered or voted in a different county in the same election.

Find more information here. On a smartphone text “CO” to 2Vote (28683) for links to election information and voter registration.


Connecticut

According to Connecticut Secretary of State Denise W. Merrill, Election Day Registration permits anyone to register and vote in person on Election Day who meets the eligibility requirements for voting in Connecticut and is not already registered, or is registered in one town but has moved to another town. By law, a person is eligible to register and vote if s/he is an US citizen, age 18 or older, a bona fide resident of the town in which s/he applies for admission, and has completed confinement and parole if previously convicted of a disfranchising felony.

Proof of identity and residency is required.

The applicant must appear in person at the location. Applicant must, under oath, declare they have not voted previously in the election. Registrars check the state-wide centralized voter registration system. The applicant will also sign the ballot envelope confirming they are eligible to vote in the election.

“Election Day Registration is not available at your polling place, but is available at a designated EDR location in each town, beginning at 6 am and ending at 8 pm. You will register and vote at the designated EDR location in your town. Please plan to arrive early in the day as there may be long lines. You must be registered by 8 pm in order to vote. You will need to provide proof of identity and residency,” the secretary of state website reads. There’s more information here. And here’s a list of EDR locations for Nutmeg State residents.


Hawaii

To register, applicants must provide their Hawaii Driver License, state I.D., last four digits of their social security number, or voter I.D., which will be confirmed when received by the clerk’s office. Applicant makes a sworn affirmation that they have not voted and are qualified to vote. Any applicant providing false information may be guilty of a Class C felony pursuant to state law. Precinct polling place or absentee polling place established in the county associated with a voter’s residence.

The state of Hawaii Office of Elections notes though that people “utilizing Election Day Registration, you may experience delays. We thank you for your patience.”


Idaho

Idaho has permitted Election Day registration since 1994.

Voters doing same day registration are required to show a photo ID and proof of residence, i.e. a bill, bank statement, check stub, or any other document with their name and residence address within the precinct printed on it. Voters also complete an oath as prescribed by the secretary of state. Precinct polling place where voter resides.

The Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney provides myriad information for voters to include details about Election Day registration here.


Illinois

Two forms of identification with at least one showing current address. Driver’s license and university or college ID can be one of the two, as can current utility bill, bank statement, pay check, government check, or other government document that shows name and address. Local election officials verify information of same-day registrants, usually after the election. If duplicate registrations and voting history are found, it would be up to each local official to provide that information to their local state’s attorney. If a voter is unable to provide the required identification would vote provisionally.

People can register and vote on Election Day in Illinois at permanent polling places. For more information about what’s called ‘Grace Period’ registration and voting, visit the Illinois Elections Board here.


Iowa

Iowans may register and vote on Election Day at their correct polling place based on address. People can find those locations here.

According to Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, at the polling place, residents “must prove both who you are and where you live. The best way to do this is with your valid Iowa driver’s license with your current address printed on it.” But people can still register and vote even without a Iowa driver’s license as long as they have a current photo ID to include an Iowa non-driver ID card, an out-of-state driver’s license or non-driver ID card, U.S. passport, U.S. military ID, ID card issued by employer, student ID issued by Iowa high school or college, and Tribal ID. If the ID doesn’t have current address, a residential lease, utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check or other government document will suffice.

Also, in Iowa, if a resident “cannot prove who you are and where you live with the documents listed above, a registered voter from your precinct may attest for you. Both you and the attester will be required to sign an oath swearing the statements being made are true.”


Maine

If a voter registers to vote on Election Day, and can show proof of identity and residency, then they vote a regular ballot, according to the Maine Secretary of State’ Board of Elections.

And if voters don’t show satisfactory proof, then they vote a provisional ballot. Real-time registration is not available, but if a voter attempts to register and vote in more than one location, the local election official would be alerted when trying to enter voting history after the election in the statewide voter registration database. The voter would be referred for prosecution for dual voting if applicable.

The National Conference of State Legislatures notes “Maine has had election day registration since 1975 and has only had four prosecutions for double voting.”


Minnesota

According to Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, Minnesotans just need valid photo ID and proof of address to register and vote on Nov. 6.

The way it works is voting history and election day registrants are input simultaneously into the statewide voter registration database after the election. The system provides notifications if there is an indication that an individual voted before an election day registration, or if more than one Election Day registrations were input for the same individual. Data provided by an Election Day registrant is verified with the Division of Vehicle Services and/or the Social Security Administration, the Department of Corrections, and the Department of Public Safety.

Locations for Election Day registration precinct polling place where the voter resides, county offices, and in-person absentee voting centers. More information about Election Day registration can be found here on the Minnesota EDR fact sheet.


Montana

In Montana, individuals can late-register at the county election office beginning the next day and through close of polls on election day, Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton says.

And not unlike most states with Election Day registration, Montana residents provide ID and proof of residency and then local election officials verify signatures and identification of voters. Anyone who transfers their registration on election day must do so at a central location and must vote a provisional ballot that is counted only if it is confirmed that the individual did not vote previously.

Locations for Election Day registration in Montana can be found here.


New Hampshire

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner keeps it pretty simple: “GENERAL ELECTION DAY- November 6, 2018 – unregistered voters may register and vote on this day.”

Qualified individuals may register to vote at the polling place on election day at all elections. But, as the Secretary of State elections website pages reads, “No matter when or where you register to vote, you will be required to fill out a standard voter registration form, and you will be asked to show proof of identity, age, citizenship. These qualifications may be established by signing affidavit(s). You must also show verifiable proof of domicile. The clerk (or supervisors) will have a guide for what you may use as evidence of domicile, if you do NOT have proof of domicile when you appear at the clerk’s office to register (more than 30 days prior to any election), you will be asked to come back at a later time with proof. If you do NOT have proof of domicile when you appear at the clerk’s office to register (30 days or less prior to any election) OR you appear to register at the polls you WILL be allowed to register AND to vote; however, if you acknowledge possessing proof of domicile that you did not bring when registering you will be required to submit proof of your domicile to the clerk at a later date. If you do not possess proof of having taken an action to carry out your intent to establish domicile, you WILL be allowed to register AND to vote if you sign an affidavit; election officials will take steps to verify your domicile after the election, which may include sending you mail.”

Bottom line: with proper ID and proof of address and a New Hampshire resident may register and vote on Nov. 6, Election Day .


Utah

Utah does not have a secretary of state rather the Office of the Lieutenant Governor administers elections with the Vote Utah website providing elections information.

Voters may register to vote and vote via provisional ballot. Voters must provide valid voter identification and proof of residency, and the provisional ballot is counted at canvass if the voter has met the required qualifications. The ballot is not counted if the county clerk finds that the voter is not eligible for registration or not legally entitled to vote the ballot.


Vermont

Vermont law allows Election Day registration but doesn’t play; “Vermont has the ability to conduct a post-election audit that would identify any individual who registered and voted in more than one town in the same election. The results of that report would be sent to the Attorney General’s office for investigation and prosecution.”

Vermont accepts residents’ registrations on Election Day with a valid photo ID, a current utility bill, bank statement or other government document.

Vermont, with a population of 626,000 people, had as of September 477,450 registered voters.

Secretary of State Jim Condos’ website provides more information and can be found here.


Wisconsin

Residents with valid and current proof of address and identification can vote in Wisconsin right at precinct polling stations on Nov. 6.

From 7 a.m. until 8 p.m., voters can register to vote at their polling place, which can be found here.”

All individuals must provide both a proof of residency document and proof of identification document to register on Election Day. The statewide voter registration system provides notification to local election officials to prevent duplicate registration records, although that process happens only after the registration is entered into the system which is usually after Election Day. Voting at two locations on Election Day is a felony offense.


Wyoming

In Wyoming, according to the Secretary of State, voter registration is administered by County Clerks’ offices. Voters can register in person, by mail and, at the polls on Election Day.

Here’s the Wyoming voter registration form.

Applicants may vote a regular ballot if they are able to provide proof of identity and residency. Otherwise they are required to cast a provisional ballot. Every county that utilizes vote centers has its e-pollbooks networked securely through a VPN and several layers of encryption. E-poll books are used to check whether or not a potential registrant has already voted elsewhere.

Maine voting guide

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