Is it Legal to be Registered to Vote in Multiple States?

The recent presidential election brought up the question of fraudulent voting. Specifically, the Trump campaign claimed millions of people voted illegally because many people were registered to vote in more than one state. Although that comment may raise eyebrows, being registered to vote in multiple states is not illegal.

Register in Two States, Vote in One

What is illegal, however, is voting more than once in one election. Advocates that claim there is illegal voting going on in the United States often point to a 2012 Pew Research study. The research, however, did not show that people voted illegally rather revealed 2.75 million people were registered to vote in more than one state. Indeed, it is not uncommon for people to move out of state, register to vote in their new home state and then vote in the new state. The old registration in the other state will remain active, but will eventually be purged when the state cleans its voting rolls. The Campaign Legal Center also notes that duplicate registrations are often clerical errors.

In short, voting in the same election twice is a crime, but being registered in two places in not.

Making things more confusing, many state laws do not address whether a person is required to notify election authorities in an old county when moving to another. Likewise, legislation in several states does not address registration in more than one state. According to the Brennan Center for Justice, double-voting in an election is rare.

One of the key things that matters when it comes to voting is residency. Others include age, citizenship, and whether or not you have been convicted of a felony.

Registering to Vote

States run federal and state elections in the United States, according to Article I and Article II of the U.S. Constitution. That being said, no two states run their elections the same way.

If you are interested in registering to vote, you may be able to register online at Vote.USA.gov. This website may assist you with any of the following:

  • Online voter registration;

  • Finding guidance for states and U.S. territories with different procedures; and

  • Allowing you to download the form to register yourself to vote by mail.

You can also register to vote in person with your local state election office. There are also other public facilities where you can try to register to vote including the department of motor vehicles, the armed services recruitment centers, as well as state and public assistance offices.

Legal Help in Nevada

In sum, while voting more than once in one election is illegal, being registered in more than one state is not. If you have any questions about voter registration, or any other legal issue you need addressed, contact the knowledgeable attorneys at Parry & Pfau. With years of experience providing legal advice to clients across the state of Nevada, these skilled attorneys can guide you every step of the way.

(image courtesy of Brandon Mowinkel)

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