I’m here to help. Below you will find details on the following voting topics:
- Voter registration
- Absentee voting
- Voter ID requirements
- Senate races
- Governor races
- Ballot measures
If I don’t answer your question about voting in November, please leave me a comment. I will try to find the answer for you!
I really need to get a calendar with all the made-up holidays on it. Apparently September 27th was National Voter Registration Day.
Regardless, I can still do my part.
Registering to vote has never been easier. Multiple websites allow Americans to register to vote.
Just fill out the short form. Bam! You can vote in November.
How do I know if I’m registered to vote?
Use the interactive map at Nonprofit Vote to find voter registration details for your state. Once you select your state, you will see a page like the one below. Click on the button “Check Your Registration.” This will take you to your state’s website. Just fill out that form. Voila! You know if you are registered to vote or not.
Where should college students register to vote?
Depending on your home state and where you attend school, you can register to vote with your permanent address or your school address. Look at Campus Vote Project for your state’s guidelines. If you’re attending school out-of-state, look up both your home state and your school’s state.
Is it too late to register to vote?
At publication date, no, it is not too late to register to vote. However, voting registration deadlines vary by state. The earliest deadline, held by many states, is Saturday, October 8, 2016. That’s in a few days. Do not delay!
The majority of my American readers live in the following states, so I’ve assembled the information for you.
Colorado Voter Registration Deadlines
Colorado has generous voter registration deadlines. You can even register in-person on Election Day! However, I recommend registering in advance.
- Monday, Oct. 31st, 2016 (If by mail or online)
- Monday, Oct. 14th, 2016 (If collected at a voter registration drive)
- Colorado has Same Day Registration. After Oct. 31st you may register and vote by appearing in-person at a voter service and polling center through Election Day.
Georgia Voter Registration Deadlines
My fellow Georgians, listen up. Our deadline is SOON.
- Tuesday, Oct.11th, 2016
New York Voter Registration Deadlines
I’m pretty sure I only have a lot of New York readers because a lot of people live in New York. Regardless, I looked up y’all’s registration deadlines too.
- Friday, Oct. 14th, 2016 (application postmark deadline)
- Wednesday, Oct. 19th, 2016 (deadline to register in person at the board of elections)
Ohio Voter Registration Deadlines
Considering Ohio is a swing state, I’m surprised the deadline to register to vote is so soon.
- Tuesday, October 11th, 2016 – Postmarked or Submitted
South Carolina Voter Registration Deadlines
South Carolina residents, if you’re not registered to vote, REGISTER TODAY.
- Saturday, October 8th, 2016 – Postmarked or Submitted
Absentee Voting and Early Voting
When I moved to Ohio in 2012, I arrived just in time for election season. However, I maintained my voter’s registration in South Carolina for the 2012 election. I didn’t realize how easily I could register to vote in a new state, so instead, I voted absentee in South Carolina.
An absentee vote is a vote cast by mail. You do not vote in person on Election Day.
3 states do all voting by mail: Colorado, Oregon, Washington. This eliminates the need for separate absentee voting.
20 states require a valid excuse to vote absentee. Find the full list on Ballotpedia. Common valid excuses include having a chronic illness or disability, being away from your county on election day, or having to work. As a college student, I voted absentee a few times.
27 states and Washington D.C. allow any citizen to cast an absentee ballot. Read the full list on Ballotpedia.
Learn more about absentee voting and early voting on NPR.
How do I vote absentee?
Rock the Vote makes it easy to find your state’s details on absentee voting. Choose your state from the drop-down box, and then follow the instructions at the link. You can also return to the interactive map at Nonprofit Vote.
Is absentee voting the same as early voting?
Technically, no, absentee voting and early voting are not the same. With a few exceptions, you cast an absentee ballot by mail. When you vote early, you still vote at a polling location.
5 states don’t offer early voting, but they do allow absentee in-person voting. These states are:
- New York
- South Carolina
How do I vote early?
Most states offer early voting. Once again, you can find out about early voting dates and places by selecting your state on the interactive map at Nonprofit Vote.
2016 will be the first year that Massachusetts has offered early voting! Get excited!
10 states do not offer early voting. These states are:
- New Hampshire
- Rhode Island
Voter ID Requirements
Just skimming voter ID requirements confuses me. Thus I will just direct you to a few resources to find out what sort of ID you need to 1) register to vote and/or 2) cast a ballot.
Rock the Vote: Voter ID Requirements by State (for registration and for casting a ballot)
Vote.org: Voter ID Laws (for voting in person and for voting absentee)
2016 Senate Races
Each state has 2 senators, for a total 100 senators in Congress. US senators serve 6-year terms. This year, 34 Senate seats are up for reelection. Currently, 54 senators are Republican, 44 senators are Democrat, and 2 are Independent. 24 Republican seats are up for reelection. 10 Democratic seats are up for reelection.
Find the entire list of states with senators up for reelection on Electoral-Vote.com.
According to 270 to Win, competitive Senate races are in the following states:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
*Indicates that the incumbent is not seeking reelection this year. This is also true of California and Maryland. All other states include the incumbent running for reelection to Senate.
2016 Governor Races
12 states will elect or reelect a new governor this November. Out of those 12 states, 7 races are competitive according to 270 to Win. These states are:
- North Carolina
- New Hampshire
- West Virginia
The other 5 states with gubernatorial elections are:
- North Dakota
2016 Ballot Measures
Are you excited to find out what else will be on your ballot this November? As usual, several states will vote on controversial issues like gun control and marijuana.
In my recent voting guide, I encouraged you to vote in November even if you abstain from voting for president. Why? Because ballot measures could have a much greater effect on your immediate daily life than the president.
35 states will include ballot measures this November. Find the entire list of states and ballot measures on Ballotpedia. In Alabama alone, voters will consider 14 amendments.
9 states have a marijuana-related ballot measure up for vote this year. These states are:
- North Dakota
Phew! I know that’s a lot of information, and I barely scratched the surface. I’ve included over 25 links, though, which should help you dig deeper into your state’s election process.
I beg of you, PLEASE register to vote. Do your homework, and be an informed voter. So much more happens in November than just the presidential election. Yes, this presidential election matters for so many reasons, but all the other elections matter too.
If you cannot find the answer to your question at any of the provided links, please ask it below! I will do my diligent best to find the answer for you.
I encourage you to share this blog post with your friends and family. All of us should do our civic duty this year and VOTE.