Where to Register to Vote

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 12,010
    Voting expert Adam Fogel explains where to register to vote in an election.

    Adam Fogel

    Adam Fogel is the Right to Vote Director at FairVote-The Center for Voting and Democracy. He is developing a voting curriculum for high schools to encourage students to get involved in the political process and register to vote. Before joining FairVote, Adam served as the Pennsylvania Field Director for a voter registration project funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts that registered over 500,000 new, young voters. He recruited and trained over 100 student leaders on more than 15 community college campuses throughout Pennsylvania before the 2006 mid-term elections. Simultaneously, he gathered data to create a voter registration model that can be used at any of the more than 1,100 U.S. community colleges nationwide, which enroll 11 million students—46 percent of all undergraduates. Adam was a fellow at the Center for Political Participation at Allegheny College for two years, where he designed an educational outreach program in high schools called “Why Bother? The Importance of Voting in America.” In 2005, The Institute of Politics at Harvard University adapted “Why Bother?” into a national program. A Cleveland, Ohio native, Adam earned a B.A. in Political Science and English from Allegheny College in May, 2006. He is currently enrolled in a master’s degree program at the Graduate School of Political Management at George Washington University. He resides in Washington, D.C.

    Adam Fogel: Hi, I am Adam Fogel, the Right to Vote Director at FairVote, a national non-partisan organization based in Washington DC. Today, I am showing you how to register and vote in US elections. Now, I will show you where to register to vote.

    Our system in the United States is an Opt-In, a voter initiated system. That means citizens must take it upon themselves to make sure their names are on the voting rolls and their information is accurate. In most other democracies around the world, the government shares the responsibility of voter registration with its citizens to maintain complete and accurate voting rolls. Because the United States is voter initiated system there are many different ways that you can find information about registering to vote. You may have seen canvassers in your neighbor or at a concert you are at, you may have been asked to register to vote in high school by your teacher. Since 1998, congress has mandated through the higher education act amendments that all colleges and universities must provide and make good faith effort to provide voter registration information to students on campus.

    Since 1993, Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act. That means public agencies must provide voter registration information to people using their services. Of course, you can always just stop by your local Board Of Elections to find voter registration information and to get a form. Online, there are number of different ways to find voter registration information. Private organizations like Rock the Vote at www.rockthevote.com provide voter registration information for every state. Also online, you can go your secretary of states website and you can find that contact information at www.fairvote.org/sos. Online, you can also find the national voter registration form. The national voter registration form is a universal form that's good in every state except for Wyoming, North Dakota because they don't have voter registration in North Dakota and in New Hampshire you can use the national voter registration form to request a registration form from that secretary of state.

    In southern states, you can register and vote all in one step. That's called Election Day registration. Those are Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Idaho, New Hampshire, Wyoming and Montana. In those states, you can go to the polls on election day, register and vote all in one step. You should contact your local board of elections to find out what identification is required to register and vote on election day.

    So, thats how you find voter registration information. Next, we are going to talk about the requirements for registration to vote.