How to Vote Print E-mail
Below you will find the basic steps that must be taken to become a voter and cast a ballot in an election. You will need to contact the Registrar of Voters in your state to learn about any additional state requirements. You may also visit the U.S. Election Assistance Commission or visit your secretary of state’s homepage.

Qualifications to Become a Voter


The U.S. Constitution sets requirements for voter eligibility that must be adhered to by every state. You will qualify to register to vote if you meet all the following requirements:  
  1. You are a citizen of the United States. 
  2. You are at least eighteen years of age by the date of the election. 
  3. You are not imprisoned or on parole for conviction of a felony (this varies from state to state). 
  4. You have not been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote. For more information, read the National Voter Registration Act
  5. You have registered to vote within your state’s required number of days before the election. Request this information from the registrar of voters or visit your secretary of state’s website for details. 

    Registering to Vote


    If you meet all the above requirements, you can obtain a voter registration form from the registrar of voters or your secretary of state’s website. Another alternative is to complete and submit the National Mail Voter Registration Form.

    Voting in an Election


    Visit your secretary of state’s website to learn the location of the polling site where you will be casting your ballot and to determine your polling site’s hours of operation.

    When you arrive at the polling site, you will be directed to a table to check in. Your name will be checked against the voter registration list and you will be handed a ballot.

    A poll worker will direct you to the voting equipment used by your polling site. Voting equipment varies considerably by state. Some polling sites have electronic or touch-screen voting machines. Other sites have mechanical voting machines. Still other polling sites have privacy booths where you will punch a card or fill in spaces with a pencil or pen to indicate your ballot choices. Manually marked ballots are then normally fed into an optical scanning machine. Voters will usually receive a receipt or some other evidence of having voted.

    When you have completed the voting process, a poll worker will usually offer you an “I Voted” sticker that indicates you have fulfilled your civic duty.