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How to register to vote: Find out if you're already registered and sign up for the first time

It doesn't take long to see if you're registered to vote at the correct address, or sign up if you need to.

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Find out if you're registered to vote.

James Martin/CNET
This story is part of Elections 2020, CNET's coverage of the run-up to voting in November.

Whether you're planning to vote by mail or in person during the 2020 Election on Nov. 3, you won't be able to do either unless you're registered. If you're not sure what your status is, the answer is simple -- and it requires little time to find out.

Voting will look different this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Once you're registered to vote, you can choose to vote by mail or absentee ballot if you don't feel comfortable heading to the polling place. In-person voting will also be an option, but expect extra rules for social distancing and mask-wearing at the very least. You can also vote early at the polls to avoid the long lines on Election Day.

Here's what you need to know about registering to vote.

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How to check if you're registered to vote

To see if you're currently registered to vote, visit vote.org and click Check Your Registration. From here, you'll need to enter your personal information, like your first and last name, current address, date of birth and an email address. Make sure all your information is correct and select Check your registration. On the next screen, you'll either see confirmation that you're registered or that you need to register to vote.

How do I register to vote?

If you're not registered to vote, visit vote.org and click Register To Vote. From here, enter your personal details as mentioned above and click Continue. When you're finished filling out the form, you'll need to sign and date it, then mail or hand-deliver the form to the provided address.

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You may need to re-register to vote.

James Martin/CNET

Common reasons for needing to reregister to vote

Even if you already registered to vote, here are several reasons why you may need to re-register.

  • You recently moved to another location.
  • You've changed your name since the last time you voted.
  • You'd like to change political parties.
  • You haven't voted in the past four years.
  • You've never registered to vote at all, in which case you'd need to register for the first time.

Need more information about voting? Here's what's going on with the USPS crisis and how it could affect the election, the differences between mail-in voting and absentee voting and how to vote safely if you're voting in person.