How to Register Your 18-Year-Old Child to Vote for the First Time

Individuals younger than 18 years old can register themselves to vote and this election procedure is called pre-registration. The legal voting age for federal and state election in the United States is 18 and, once they reach this age, they are eligible to cast their vote!

Whether you’re handing off the reigns to your kid to take charge of the registration process themselves or staying by their side throughout each step, below is just about everything you need to know to get the ball rolling.

New Voter Pre-Registration

With a pre-registration or pending status, new voters would be added to the voter registration list just by filling out an application form. And upon turning eighteen the person will be able to cast his or her first ballot.

Now pre-registration depends on voters’ age. Some allow 17 years old to pre-register while others have set the criteria of 16 years. There are some states who have no specific age restriction for pre-registration. In some states, a 17-year-old can cast a ballot in the primary election if and only if he or she will turn 18 before the general election.

States that permit preregistration at age of 16:

Rhode Island, Utah, California, Colorado, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, North Carolina, and Oregon.

States that permit preregistration at age of 17:

New Jersey, West Virginia, Maine, and Nevada,

States that have different preregistration age criteria:

  • In Alaska, voter under 18 can register within 90 days before turning 18th.
  • 17.5 is the age criteria for preregistration in Iowa, Missouri, and Georgia.
  • Texas permits 10 months of age for preregistration.

States that have no specific age restriction:

There are some states that have no specific age criteria and one can register for next election right after the previous one even at the age of 16. For further details about pre-registration age, reach out to officials of the state election.

There is no pre-registration prior to the election in North Dakota. And one can only register after turning 18.

Who Can Register To Vote?

One is eligible to register for the vote in federal elections if:

  1. A person who is 18 years of age
  2. A legal citizenor natural born citizen of the United States of America
  3. A person who meets their state’s residency requirements

Voting requirements for local state elections vary from state to state. Check out this state voting requirement resource to find out the rules in your local state (we can’t guarantee the accuracy of this site, so always check with your local municipalities to confirm.)

How To Cast The First Ballot

The process of casting vote is not as complicated as we presume. By following a few basic steps we can easily register our self and can cast our vote. At state and federal level there are countless resources that can answer your queries and guide the people who are unfamiliar with the process. Here are six simple steps you need to know if you want to cast a vote.

Registration: States and territories have different requirements for registration at a local level. In many states, one can register online following a link, in person or via paper only when they are a qualified voter. They can also register for absentee voting, in case they need to go out of state on the day of voting.

Research Candidate of Political Parties: An informed voter is the one who selects an eligible candidate, unaffected by party propaganda and without relying on media coverage and paid promotions. This knowledgeable decision asks you to do extensive research before supporting someone with your vote. First-time voters must go through the comprehensive guidelines to become an informed voter.

Know The Issue: An informed voter must be aware of the current issues of the state and country that is at stake, as well as have clarity on their individual stance on these issues. On the occasion of any sort of election, be it city council election or presidential, understanding ones own personal values and principles about the way the government should operate is really at the core of being able to choose candidates that align with ones beliefs.

Check Rules And Regulations of State: On Election Day even busy people can ample time to cast a ballot because voting stations are open for 12 hours at least. According to federal law, first-time voters must submit a pay stub, photo id, bill, or government document showing their current address and full name. In some states, all voters are required to bring a photo ID in order to cast a vote.

Find Your Polling Station: Polling stations are assigned by state election depending on the voter’s current address. You can find your station either on USA.gov in the search tool or you can directly contact the election office for details. You can also use ‘’get to the polls’’ to see find your polling station.

Cast Your Vote: Gone are the days when you need to feel frustrated because of delayed results. Now states have introduced an electronic voting system, which uses a touch screen or optical scanning that makes voting painless and getting results faster than ever before.

You can also check the machine at the polling station of your state. Gizmodo gives you a list of the type of machine and states so the first time voters can save their time can feel knowledgeable and confident.

 

The Top 5 Local Town and County Officials You Should Always Vote On Carefully

Everyone knows the importance of voting in the big elections — the president every four years, our congressmen every six years, and your representatives every two years. But a far less percentage of people regard voting in local elections as necessary, which doesn’t quite make sense, as it is at the local level that some of the most important decisions are made. Here are, arguably, the top five most important offices you should be voting for when it comes to elections in your area.

Number 1: Mayor

Now, this first one may seem like it’s a bit obvious, but your local mayor’s office can often be the first port of call if you have a problem somewhere in your area. At some point, a majority of local issues will cross the mayor’s desk, looking for approval for the idea, a question for budget reasons, or simply whether to ask the mayor what they think. In many areas, the mayor controls the local council meetings, often deciding which issues are brought up during these, and controlling the agenda. It is vital in these sorts of cases that the person that holds this position is someone you trust to get the job done, and someone you believe you can rely upon. Many local elections for mayors are often between two or three people, and one of these is usually the incumbent mayor. It doesn’t take too long to have a look to see what he or she has done in the area, and question if this is the sort of agenda you want for your area.

Number 2: School Board

Education is widely covered in the news these days, and a lot of it seems to be around the funding of schools and university students. But the important thing is to know who is in charge of the schools in your area in the first place. Your local school board will probably be around 12 people who decide how education in your area works, and how large an area a school board covers differs from state to state. It is important to vote for the people going on your school board, especially since they control school funding and the curriculum in your area. which means that these people essentially control what your child learns when they go to school. This duty gives them influence over an important part of life, and these boards have to be appropriately elected to ensure that they are learning what you think are the most important things are, and holding these board to account via the elections that are held is the best way for you to have your say on both how you feel your child is learning, as well as how well you think your school is being run overall.

Number 3: Sheriff

The reason why the sheriff is so low down the list is just that there is a lot of variation from state to state as to the powers of the sheriff. But in the places where they are the most powerful, the sheriff election is one which you cannot afford to miss. In charge of law enforcement in some places, sheriffs are elected by county and are quite likely to be the person you are placing your safety in the hands of should you ever be the victim of a crime. Sheriff elections are essential in this regard, as they handle the management of all crimes in a particular area. Key exceptions are if you hail from Alaska or Connecticut, where counties and county governments do not apply, or if you are from Hawaii, where the sheriff is appointed.

Number 4: Auditor

If you want your local government held accountable, there is no better person outside of you the voter than your local government auditor. Again, powers of an auditor vary from state to state, and one of the most powerful audit offices is in the state of Ohio. Essentially, the auditor checks the spending records of your local government, checking the financial assets to make sure that everything is in order, and there is no misuse of funds or embezzlement happening within government departments. The auditor has to know his way around financial systems, and there is no better way of choosing a competent and independent auditor than by voting one in. Some auditors also have responsibilities in property valuations and can also help you with local tax laws.

Number 5: Recorder

We come to number five, and the recorder will probably be one of the most helpful people you will need in public office. With the official title of Recorder of Deeds, this person looks after all the local records and documents of a county, including important things to you such as housing deeds. Essentially, this person is the one to go to if you need to establish your rights over property, and to protect these rights with the proof that you do indeed own what you say you do. By electing someone here, you can make sure that this person is helpful, open, and makes sure that all documents make their way to the allocated person whenever they are needed.

That wraps up this short list of five local offices that you should go out and vote for. Though some are overlooked, every elected official in your local area is someone who makes your community work and keeps it functioning in a way that allows everything to carry on as usual. Without these local officials, life would be much harder.

It would be harder to fix things, to prove things, and most importantly, nothing would get done without the multitude of locally elected officials who work tirelessly to serve and help your community. It is important in these times to make sure that the person you vote in is up to the task, and that you vote in the best person for the job.