11 states plus the District of Columbia presently offer same-day registration (SDR), allowing any qualified resident of the state to go to the polls or an election official’s office on Election Day, register that day, and then vote. California, Hawaii and Vermont have enacted same-day registration but have not yet implemented it.
In most other states, voters must register by a deadline prior to Election Day. The deadline varies by state, with most falling between eight and 30 days before the election.
NCSL – Same Day Voter Registration
How SDR Works
- Proof of residency is a key requirement in all states that offer same-day registration. In a traditional (pre-Election Day) registration, election officials have time to send a non-forwardable mailing to the prospective voter in order to verify the voter’s residence before processing the registration application. Because that isn’t possible with SDR, the prospective voter must present proof of residency at the time of registration. A current driver’s license or ID card will suffice in all states. In some states, documents such as a paycheck or utility bill with an address is acceptable for proving residence. A few states also permit an already-registered voter to vouch for the residency of an Election Day registrant.
- Voter ID: All of the SDR states also require that voters who register and vote on Election Day present documentation to verify their identity. Some states require a photo ID; others accept IDs without a photo.