Frequently Asked Questions About Voter Registration and Voting

Registering to Vote | Voter Cards | Voting Early/Absentee

Updating My Information with Rock the Vote | Voting on Election Day

Registering to Vote

When is the last day to register to vote?
Voter Registration postmark deadlines vary from 30 days out to just a couple of days before the elections. Check out our Election Center for information for the voter registration deadlines in your state.
Do I need to be 18 in order to register to vote?
The voter registration age requirement varies by state, but most states allow individuals who will be 18 by the next election to register to vote. Some states do have a minimum age requirement to register to vote (for example you may have to be 17 ½ years of age). Check out our Election Center for the voter registration eligibility requirements in your state.
Do I need to be a U.S. citizen in order to register to vote?
Yes. You must be a naturally born or fully naturalized U.S. citizen in order to register to vote.
Where can you register to vote?
You may be able to register to vote at public facilities like the DMV, your local election office or in some states, online. Before heading out, check with your state voter registration and / or your state election offices or register to vote here with Rock the Vote.
Do I need to re-register if I’ve moved?
Yes, if you have changed your address, changed your name, or need to change your political party, you must re-register. Check out our Election Center for information for the requirements in your state.
I was previously convicted of a felony. Can I register to vote?
If you were convicted of a felony, your voting rights may vary from state to state. Learn more here.
I know someone who’s mentally impaired/disabled. Can they vote?
In most states, if a person has been declared “non compos mentis,” or “mentally incompetent” by a court of law, that person is ineligible to vote. For more information on how your state defines “mental incompetence,” contact your state.
I am a student. Can I register to vote at my school address?
YES! You have the right to register to vote at your school address – this includes a dorm room. Any student living in a dorm is entitled to the same rights as any other student. To imply otherwise is illegal. If you receive mail in a Post Office box you can sign an affidavit (or, in some cases, get a letter from your college’s Residential Life office) asserting that you live at your dorm address. For more info, check out our Election Center.
I live abroad. How do I register to vote?
You should contact the Federal Voting Assistance Program. The website is They specialize in getting people in the armed forces and people living abroad registered to vote. The rules for people in the armed forces or abroad are different than for people living in the United States. The FVAP can also be reached by phone at (800) 438-VOTE.
I am in the armed forces. How do I register to vote?
You can register to vote and request a ballot through Rock the Vote’s partnership with the Overseas Vote Foundation.
I just moved to a new state yesterday. Can I register to vote in that state right now?
Residency rules vary by state. In some states, you may be eligible to register to vote in your new state immediately upon moving. In others, you may need to wait a certain number of days or be living in the state for a certain amount of days before you register to vote in the next election. A state cannot require you to live there for more than 30 days in order to register. Check out our Election Center for information on your state.
Can I put a P.O. Box address or a school mailbox address as my permanent address?
No. Your form will not be processed if you put a P.O. Box as your permanent address. For districting purposes you must put a physical address. There is a section of the form to put your mailing address, in addition to your physical address.
When I received my completed online voter register form from Rock the Vote, I realized a piece of my personal information (email, phone, address, etc.) was incorrect. What should I do?
Not to worry. Your form is not processed until you’ve printed, signed and mailed it in. You will need to complete the form again online–make sure you review all of the information before you submit so that you don’t have to correct anything again.
What do I do if I completed the online voter registration form, but do not have a printer?
If you do not have access to a printer you should complete a paper voter registration form at your local board of elections, DMV, post office, or public library.
Can you register to vote online?
Some states do offer online voter registration. Check with your local voter registration and / or your state election offices or register to vote online with Rock the Vote’s tool here.
I may already be registered but I don’t know. How do I know if I’m registered to vote?
You can check your voter registration status directly with your state or by using our voter registration lookup tool.
Is it too late to register to vote?
Voter registration deadlines vary by state. Check out our Election Center for information for the voter registration deadlines in your state.

Voter Cards

What is a voter card?
After you register to vote, most states send out a “voter card” to let you know your registration has gone through. The voter card helps you to confirm you’re registered to vote and that your information is correct. Most also contain information about where you will go to vote on Election Day.
What does a voter card look like?
Voter cards vary from state to state but generally they’re small cards similar to a postcard.
How long does it take to get my voter card in the mail?
It usually takes 6-8 weeks for the state to send out your voter card. If 8 weeks have passed and you haven’t received your card, you probably are not registered and should call your state to make sure your registration went through properly. If you register to vote with fewer than 8 weeks to the election, you may not receive your card in time. Call your state to confirm your registration.
I don’t know if I ever received a voter card (or I lost mine). What should I do?
Call your state to make sure you correctly filled out your voter registration form and they have you listed as a registered voter. If you’re registering right before the voter registration deadline, chances are you won’t receive the card in time for the election. You do not need this card to vote but you do need to know if you’re registered and where your voting location is. Call your state election authority with any questions.
I lost my voter card. How can I get another one?
You should be able to call your state and request a new voter card. Not all states send out voter cards.
Do I need my voter card in order to vote?
No. Voter cards let you know that you have successfully registered to vote. They contain information for where you will vote on Election Day and a phone number for your state if you have any questions. Voter Cards are NOT required in order to vote. Check out our Election Center for additional information about what you must bring with you to the polls on Election Day.
What if my info on the card is wrong?
The card should have information on how to change any incorrect information (such as the wrong apartment number or that your name is misspelled). If for some reason there are no instructions, call your state or local election administrator.
Why should I hold onto my voter card?
A voter card lets you verify that your voter registration information is correct, such as your name, address, and birth date. It also has the address for your polling place, which is where you will vote on Election Day.
Does a voter card serve as a form of identification for voting?
Most states do not accept a voter card as a form of ID. If you are a first time voter who mailed in your registration form, you should check out our Election Center to find out what identification you will need at the polls.

Voting Early / Absentee

I won’t be around on Election Day. How can I get an absentee ballot?
Check out our page on absentee voting. You must be registered to vote in order to request an absentee ballot. The requirements for requesting an absentee ballot vary from state to state. Click here to find the link to your state’s absentee information.
How do I obtain an absentee ballot?
In order to vote by absentee ballot, you must submit an absentee ballot request form through your state. You can grab yours at our Election Center.
Can you change your vote if you voted early?
Some states actually allow you do do this. Please check with your local elections office to determine the rules in your state.
Where do I vote early?
Check out the Rock the Vote election center for information on where you can vote early.

Updating My Information with Rock the Vote

I changed my legal name. How do I change my name on my voter registration?
On every voter registration form there is a place to fill in your previous registration information. You will fill out the form as if it were your first time doing so, and where it asks you to put in your old information, you would put in your previous name, (for example, your maiden name).
How do I update my email address with Rock the Vote?
Rock the Vote can either update your email address manually or you can sign up with us again using your new address at:
How do I unsubscribe from emails and text messages from Rock the Vote?
After filling out an online voter registration form, you will receive – at most –three automated reminders to print, sign, and mail in your form. After that, if you have not signed up to receive Rock the Vote emails, you will not receive future emails from the organization. If you check the box to sign up for emails and no longer want to receive them, we can remove you form the list manually or you can click unsubscribe at the bottom of the next email we send. To unsubscribe from our text messages, text STOP to RTVOTE.

Voting on Election Day

Where do I vote on Election Day?
CLICK HERE to find out where you vote on Election Day. Polling places are usually within walking distance of your home (unless you are in a very rural area). A polling place can be in a business, a person’s house, a school, or a community center, to name a few establishments.
Do I need to show identification to vote?
Most states require some form of identification either when you register and/or when you vote. The rules vary state by state. Check out your state rules at our Election Center.
What if I go to the polls and they tell me I am not registered to vote?
First, make sure you are at the right polling place. If you are at the wrong polling place they will not have your name on list of voters. If you are at the correct location and are not on the list, you can still cast a ballot. Ask the poll worker for a provisional ballot. After the polls close on Election Day the state will check on the status of your voter registration and if there was a mistake made. The state must notify you as to whether your ballot was counted. If you have a problem voting and think your rights have been denied, call (866) OUR- VOTE. There will be lawyers there to help.
Am I required to vote for everything on the ballot?
No! You don’t have to answer everything. If you’re not sure what is on the ballot, here are some great resources you can use.
On Election Day, if I think my rights have been violated, what should I do?
Call (866) OUR-VOTE if you feel your rights have been violated. There will be lawyers on hand to answer Election Day questions and concerns about voting procedures.
Where can I learn who’s running for office, research issues, and check to see my state’s voting laws?
To learn more about the election process and who is running for office check out Rock the Vote’s Election Center.