Register to Vote

Voter registration or enrollment is automatic in most advanced industrial nations, most of which are democracies, but is a requirement in many countries (including some democracies such as the United States and the United Kingdom) before a person is entitled or permitted to vote in elections. The rules governing registration vary between jurisdictions, and involve requirements that must be met and practices that must be followed before a citizen and resident is enrolled on an electoral roll. In some jurisdictions registration by those of voting age is compulsory, while in most it is merely voluntary. In jurisdictions where registration is voluntary, an effort may be made to encourage persons otherwise eligible to vote to register, in what is called as a voter registration drive.

In some countries, people eligible to vote must “opt in” to be permitted to participate in voting, generally by filling out a specific form and submitting the form to the relevant electoral agency. They often need to re-register if they change residence across jurisdictional or divisional boundaries. In other cases, when a person registers their residence with a government agency, say, for a driver’s license, there may be automatic voter registration at the same time by the government if the citizen is of voting age.

Even in countries where registration is the individual’s responsibility, many reformers, seeking to maximize voter turnout, argue for a wider availability of the required forms, or more ease of process by having more places where one may register. The United States Congress passed the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (“Motor Voter Law”) and similar laws, which required states to offer voter registration at motor vehicle departments (driver’s license offices) as well as disability centers, public schools, and public libraries, in order to offer more access to the system. State authorities are also required to accept mail-in voter registrations. Many jurisdictions also offer online registrations.