You may not be eligible to vote. Find out here – CNET

Vote stickers for the elction

Find out if you’re eligible to vote.


James Martin/CNET

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

The first step to voting on Election Day is making sure you’re eligible to vote. It’s simple enough to find out, but some things can complicate your eligibility, which is often determined by the states.

If you’re eligible to vote, make sure you’ve got everything you need to bring with you when you vote, and know where your polling place is. You can choose to vote early in-person, vote by mail or vote on Nov. 3 in person.


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Here’s what determines if you’re eligible to vote in 2020

You need to be registered to vote. For most states, registration ends in October, but the dates vary by state. Make sure you meet this deadline by seeing when your state’s registration ends.

You must be a US citizen. This means you must have been born in the US or its territories, you’ve been granted citizenship through naturalization or if you’re a derived citizen, meaning at least one of your parents is a US citizen.

You have to be 18 years of age or older on or before Election Day. Most states will still allow you to register to vote at the age of 17 if you’ll be 18 by Election Day. See what your state’s age requirements are for voting.

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You must be a US citizen to vote.


James Martin/CNET

Who can’t vote?

Residents with felony convictions aren’t allowed to vote in many states. In some states, felons lose their right to vote indefinitely depending on the crime, or they need a governor’s pardon to vote again, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. In other states, such as Maine, felons never lose their voting rights, even if they’re incarcerated.

Non-US citizens cannot vote, even if they’re a lawful permanent resident, or have green cards to live in the US.

A person who has been declared mentally incompetent by a court does not have the right to vote in many states. See what your state’s laws are for those with mental disabilities (PDF).

Want more information about voting? Here are seven things you can do to make sure your vote counts this election, everything you need to bring with you to vote in person and what will happen if you try to vote twice in the 2020 election.


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