Every four years, American’s are assaulted with information on the upcoming presidential election. While this is the election most often on our minds, there are elections for state and local officials, much more frequently. As American’s, it is our right and honor to be able to choose our elected leaders by voting. Continue reading to learn more about voting laws.
Can Everyone Vote?
No matter if it is a federal, state, or local election, there are prerequisites to voting. Primarily, to vote in a U.S. election, you must be a United States Citizen. You must also be considered a resident of the state in which you intend to vote. Furthermore, you must at least 18 years of age prior to or on election day. Take note that you must be registered to vote (prior to the deadline set forth by the state) to be permitted to cast your ballot. If you will be turning 18 just before or on election day, you may still register to vote ahead of time.
Who Is Barred from Voting?
As was aforementioned, those for are not U.S. citizens may not vote in elections. This also applies to permanent legal residents. Additionally, those who have been convicted of a felony are often prohibited from voting in elections; however, the laws differ depending on the state. Those who are mentally incapacitated are barred from elections in many states; although, for the most accurate information, you should read your state’s laws regarding this issue.
Voting is a Constitutional Right
Article 1 of the U.S. constitution grants states the right to handle elections. Despite this, for many years all citizens were not treated fairly. Since then, several amendments have been passed to grant gender and racial equality to all.
Even though disparities in voting have been addressed, allowing for all citizens to vote, this is still a voluntary act. Thus, there is no law or requirement forcing U.S. citizens to vote in federal, state, or local elections.
What Is Voter Fraud?
It is likely you’ve heard the term voter fraud or voter registration fraud. Simply put, this is when you fraudulently vote as someone you are not. This most often occurs when someone uses a dead person’s identity to vote.
Do I Need to Provide ID?
Many states require you to provide ID in order to vote. Some require a photo ID, while others merely require a non-photo ID. Each state has its own laws, so it is always best to research your state’s requirements regarding the necessity of an ID for voting.