The November election is fast approaching. This is your opportunity to help shape the community you live in, our state and our country, but to do that you must be registered to vote. Today is National Voter Registration Day, and there is no time like the present to act.
Getting registered to vote is easy
National Voter Registration Day is observed on the fourth Tuesday in September, which is well ahead of Arizona’s Oct. 5 registration deadline for the Nov. 3 general election.
The process is simple and only takes a few minutes. To register, you must meet the eligibility requirements that include being 18 years old by Election Day, a United States citizen, and a resident of the state and county you list on your registration. If you have an Arizona driver’s license or an Arizona non-operating ID card issued by the Motor Vehicle Division, you can register to vote online through the Service Arizona portal. Or you can download a paper voter registration form, fill it out and return it to your county recorder’s office. Simple as that.
Remember to update your registration
Voters should make a habit of checking their registration status regularly. If your address or legal name has changed, you need to update your voter registration. If you’d like to change your political party affiliation, you should also update your registration.
Although your registration is effective based on the date the form is submitted, it might take a few weeks to receive your new or updated voter registration card. Voters don’t need to have a physical voter registration card to participate in an election — but your identification will be verified. A list of all acceptable forms of ID for in-person voting is available at Arizona.Vote.
Make a plan to vote
Once you’re registered to vote — make a plan to exercise that right! There are many options for participation in Arizona. Voters can:
- Mail a ballot back as soon as possible and no later than Oct. 27 to ensure officials receive it before the deadline, which is Nov. 3 at 7 p.m.
- Return an early ballot at a secure election drop-box or at any voting location.
- Cast a ballot in person early or on Election Day.
Ballot-by-mail process is a safe, secure and reliable option
Arizona has an impressive history with ballots-by-mail. We’ve had “no-excuse” absentee voting for decades, which means any voter, for any reason can get a one-time ballot-by-mail. All you need to do is request one from your county recorder.
Additionally, the Permanent Early Voting List (commonly referred to as PEVL) has been in place since 2007 in our state. Voters on this list are sent a ballot-by-mail for each election in which they qualify to participate. About 3 million of Arizona’s 4 million registered voters are currently on the PEVL, and we have many elections worth of experience to know that the system works.
These ballots are tracked and go through a rigorous verification process before being securely tabulated. And it is important to remember when you vote by mail, sign and date the return envelope - that is how your identification is verified!
At the onset of COVID-19, Arizona election officials were ready and able to support voters when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended early voting and voting by mail whenever possible.
If you have questions about registering to vote or your voting options, you should visit Arizona.Vote or call the Secretary of State’s Office at 1-877-THE-VOTE. This will ensure you get the information you need from trusted sources; and being ready with trusted information is the best way to ensure your vote counts.
Katie Hobbs is the secretary of state and the chief elections officer in Arizona. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Diane E. Brown is the executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, a nonpartisan organization that protects consumers and promotes civic participation. Reach her at email@example.com.