How to Register to Vote

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 29,754
    Voting expert Adam Fogel explains how to register and vote in U.S. elections. From finding a voter registration application to casting your ballot on Election Day, this video walks you through the entire process.

    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.

    Hi, I am Adam Fogel, the Right to Vote Director at FairVote, a national non-partisan, non-profit organization based in Washington DC. I have coordinated voter registration projects in Pennsylvania and Ohio as part of a National Voter Registration Project that registered over half a million people before the 2006 midterm elections.

    Today I am going to show you how to register and vote in US elections.

    Voting is the corner stone of our democracy. The US is a representative democracy, that means the citizens elect their leaders to make the important decisions that affect our lives. When the US was founded only white landowning men could vote. As our history progressed, Congress in the states have expanded and protected this important right. Now, today discrimination based on a persons sex or a persons race is prohibited by law. Two other important amendments that were passed in the 1960s, one, gave the citizens living in the District of Columbia, the right to vote for president and the other prohibited poll taxes. That means citizens can no longer be discriminated against and they can't be denied the right to vote for not having enough money.

    In 1971, during the war in Vietnam, Congress in the states chose to amend the constitution again. In an act, a constitutional amendment that lowered the voting age from 21 years old to 18 years old. Supporters of this measure believed that it was unfair to send 18 year olds off to work without giving them a voice in the political process. Even today, our democracy continues to realize its full promise because of important reform proposals that continue to expand our right to vote and give the disenfranchised of voice in the political process.

    Before we begin, I want to add this important disclaimer, that you check state and local laws before registering to vote or voting. Local laws and state laws vary and they change so just make sure that you know that you are working with the most up-to-date rules before you vote. Its also important to know that there are deadlines that are set that you have to make sure that you follow in order to vote. The general election for president is every four years on the first Tuesday, following the first Monday of November. Most states have a voter registration deadline of one month before election date, but some states have later voter registration deadlines. Its important to check with your state board of elections to find out when your deadline is to register to vote. You can find your secretary of states website where that information should be available at So, now we are ready to find out how to register to vote.