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How to Change Voter Registration When You Move Across the Country?

Posted in How-to on November 18, 2022

Are you one of the many Americans who moved across state lines this year? If so, you’ll need to take a few extra steps to ensure that you’re able to vote in the upcoming election. We will provide you with a quick guide on how to change your voter registration when you pack your things and move. Go through all of the following steps and make sure your voice is heard!

In order to change your voter registration, first, you need to gather any necessary documents, such as proof of residency or a driver’s license. Then, download the registration form and send it via mail, contact the local office over the phone, or go update the information online. After it’s done, confirm that your voter registration has been successfully changed and stay up-to-date on your status so you can exercise your right to vote in every election.

Let’s Start With the Basics – What Is Voter Registration?

Except for North Dakota, every state mandates a voter to register before voting. Voter registration is the process of adding your name to the list of eligible voters in your area. If you plan on hiring movers and moving cross-country, the local election office needs to be notified about the move.

This process is important because it helps ensure that only eligible voters are able to vote and that everyone who wants to vote can do so. This process is necessary so that everyone’s voice is heard. Elections are one of the most important ways that we, as citizens, have a say in how our government runs. By making sure that everyone who wants to vote is registered, we can help ensure that the will of the people is accurately represented.

Once you’re registered, you’ll be ready to vote in any upcoming elections. Therefore, in the midst of calculating your relocation budget, throwing a moving-away party, and finding valuable house-hunting tips, don’t neglect to think about your voting rights. In some states, same-day registration is available, which is great for people who have a last-minute move close to the election date. However, in some, you’ll need to register in advance – which is why you should do it as soon as possible.

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Who Is Eligible to Vote?

There are a few requirements you must meet in order to register to vote in the United States. First and foremost, you must be a United States citizen (born or fully naturalized). You will also need to be at least 18 years old by election day. You will need to provide proof of identification, such as a driver’s license, passport, or state ID card, as well as proof of residency. Therefore, if you plan to move to a new city, changing your voter registration must be on your move-out list.

When Do You Need to Change It?

The County Recorder must have the correct data on the register of voters, such as their name or address. Therefore, if you’ve changed some of your personal information, the County Recorder must be updated. Here are cases when you will need to do so:

Change of address

After relocating to a new state, voters should change their registration as quickly as feasible. Your precinct and the electoral districts in which you are able to vote are determined by the address of your primary residence. Your future home address will decide which polling location you will be assigned if you reside in a county that utilizes polling stations.

Some people think that updating your driver’s license implies updating your voter registration – but it’s not always the case. In case you have to change your address, make sure to complete the voter registration section on a DMV form, if one is available, or register to vote in another way.

Name change

Voters should update their information if their names have changed legally (for example, due to a marriage or court order). When registering to vote, you must provide identification, and on election day, you must present identification in order to obtain your ballot. At the polls, only some forms of identification are permitted, and the identity on the ID must coincide with the name on the registration list.

Party change

Update your voter registration if you want to change your political party allegiance. Keep in mind that voter eligibility for an election may be influenced by political affiliation.

When planning a move to another city, it’s a reason enough to update your registration. However, if you’re relocating for love and plan to change your name in the near future, know that you’ll have to re-register with your new name, as well.

Person voting after moving cross-country
Update your personal information so you can vote when the time comes

How to Change Your Voter Registration When You Move

If you plan on getting cross-country moving services and relocating interstate, updating your registration is necessary – it’s one of the essential things to do after the move. The process itself is pretty simple. All you have to do is to decide which method works best for you.

Updating Registration Online

If you’re relocating to a new home in another state, check to see if the new state allows you to do it online. It’s the simplest way to update your information. Additionally, if your future state tracks party preferences, you’ll be able to change them as well – if you wish to do so.

Go to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission website to the Register and Vote in Your State page. After selecting your future state from the drop-down menu, click the submit button. You’ll be presented with several different options to choose from – choose Register to Vote. This hyperlink will then take you to the state’s official online registration tool.

Make Changes Through Your Mail

If you want to update your information by mail, note that you can download The National Mail Voter Registration Form from the same website (US EAC) – all you have to do is fill it out, then mail it in. Almost all states recognize it – the only exceptions are North Dakota, Wyoming, and New Hampshire.

If you are unable to download this form, contact your state or local election office so that the state’s registration form can be forwarded to you. If you are a military or foreign voter, change your information and ask for an absentee ballot through the Federal Voting Assistance Program.

Woman using a laptop after long-distance moving
When you choose to register by mail, you'll need to download the suitable form

Change Your Information Over the Phone

If you’re not certain about the whole process of changing your registration online or by mail, this is one more possibility. Still, not all states will accept changes made over the phone, so make sure you check with the local election office and find out. You can find the contact details and address information in the Official Guide to Government Information and Services.

At the same time, if you have previously registered to vote, check to see if your registration is valid. The purpose of checking and a simple guide on how to do so are both covered in the following video:

How to Change Political Party Affiliation?

Your choice of connection with a political party is known as your party affiliation. In some states, you could be asked about your party affiliation before you register. However, your party affiliation can also be changed if you wish to do so. You can use the same three methods mentioned above. Consider making changes:

  • Online – go to the previously mentioned Register and Vote in Your State page, and click Register to Vote if you want to change the party affiliation,
  • By mail – download the form or ask local offices to mail it to you,
  • By phone – contact the local election office to find out if it would be possible and update your information if it is.

Once your form is processed, you’ll be officially registered with your new party and can start participating in party activities right away.

FAQ

Is there a voter registration deadline?

State-specific deadlines apply to voter registration. While some states mandate voter registration up to thirty days before an election, others permit it right up until the polls close on election day. It’s critical that you are aware of local laws.

How to know if I'm already registered to vote?

You can contact your state or local election office to inquire about your registration status. You can also check online through your state’s election website or a national voter registration site.

What does it mean if registration is marked inactive?

If you failed to vote in two or more federal elections and did not react when election authorities tried to contact you, you may be deemed “inactive.” You don’t always have to re-register if your account is not active. Your local or state election office can assist you in changing your status and returning it to active status.

How to get a voter registration card?

This card attests to your voter registration and eligibility and will be provided to you when you sign up to vote. Your name, home address, and the location of the polling place are normally listed on your voter registration card. Once you get packing services and move to a new home across the country, you’ll get a new card. Keep in mind that voting can be done without having a card on hand, but you might need to provide another form of identification.

Can you register at your school address?

If you plan on relocating to college, you may wonder whether you need to go back home when election day comes. The answer is, fortunately, no. Therefore, if you’re planning to move out for the first time to continue your education, your new address is where you may register to vote. The same privileges apply to dorm residents as they do to all other students.

When can you register to vote after long-distance moving?

After organizing a move, you might be able to register in your new state right away. However, some states require you to live there for a predetermined number of days before you may register to vote in the following election.

Let Long-Distance Movers Handle the Relocation While You Deal With Voting

Long-distance moves are a hassle under the best of circumstances – just think about all the tasks waiting for you on your to-do list. The good news is you don’t have to handle moving across the country all by yourself. When you pick a city to live in, you can leave logistics and heavy lifting to reliable cross-country movers in order to focus on more pressing matters, like voting. So if you’re planning a long-distance move, don’t feel like you have to go at it alone. Choose a relocation company to help you with a part of your move, and make sure your voice is heard when the time comes.

Milly Andrews

Born and raised in Portland, Milly has had a lot of experience moving and writing about the relocation process.

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