Renting and Voting: How to Ensure Your Registration is Up-To-Date

Renting and Voting

Imagine that you live all your life in one state, and now you are planning to lease out an apartment or a house, or maybe you are relocating to work in another state. You might be concerned about how to register to vote. Of course, the rules vary by the state.

According to about.com, you must register before you can vote in all states, except North Dakota. Voter registration is the process used by the government to ensure that a person who votes is eligible, votes in the correct location and only votes once per election. Voting in the right place is very important because you get to vote for candidates according to where you currently reside.

If you are renting an apartment or moving in a townhouse in another state, you should always re-register to vote in your current state. Rules clarifying on who is eligible to vote differ by states but there are few that are the same in all states. First, you need to be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old or older, and a resident of the state. There are two more rules that most states have: you can’t be a felon or mentally incompetent. To check the rules according to your state, you can check online at usa.gov or call your state or local election office.

If you are renting a house in another state temporary, you can register legally in either place. You can register to vote by mail (except in New Hampshire and Wyoming, which won’t except mailed-in ballots), and you can find applications at your local elections office or at voter registration stations, usually prior to elections, at places like shopping malls, post offices, and college campuses. Two weeks after you file your application, you can expect to receive your Voter Registration card.

You can also register under a particular political party, or you can register as independent. However, in some states, if you choose not to select a party, you won’t be allowed to vote in the primary elections but you will be allowed to vote in the general election. Generally, you should register at least 30 days prior to Election Day but this also varies with the state.

For voter registration application you will need either your driver’s license or social security card. When voting in an election you will be asked for your full name, address, date of birth and status of U.S. citizenship.

You will usually vote at the polling place according to your address. To find the correct polling place, visit vote411.org or call local elections official.

If you are a college student living in another state or a vacationer, you can choose to vote absentee using your home state address. To check if you qualify for absentee voting, check canivote.org or vote411.org for absentee and early voting. Absentee voting can be mailed-in or made in person depending on the state.

If you are in the Armed Forces, or U.S. citizen living abroad, you can also register to vote and you can visit fvap.gov for more information.

If you decide to rent an apartment or a house in another state, or temporary relocate, don’t wait until the last minute to register to vote. Below are some useful resources for you to get more information on voting according to the state:

  • usa.gov
  • vote411.org
  • about.com
  • declareyourself.com
  • canivote.org
  • fvap.gov

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