Requirements to Vote in U.S. Elections

Many MurthyDotCom readers have applied for or obtained naturalized U.S. citizenship. The opportunity to participate in the 2020 presidential election will be the first time many of these new citizens will have the privilege of voting in the United States. However, there are steps that must be taken after becoming a U.S. citizen in order to become eligible to vote.

Registration Required Prior to Voting; Deadlines Vary by State

A U.S. citizen must register with the appropriate state agency in order to become eligible to vote in state and federal elections. Each state has different requirements and deadlines for this process. It is important to check the guidelines in one’s state of residence and to be mindful of the corresponding deadlines. The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) provides a variety of resources to voters, including links to voter registration information for each state.

Voting Locations May Change

Voters should be sure to verify the proper voting location or poll. While each state has many different voting locations, typically, voters are only permitted to cast their respective ballots at the specific voting place assigned to them. These locations change from time to time, and there may be reassignment of polling locations as populations shift and needs change, particularly this year in light of the pandemic. If there are questions about where one is supposed to vote, the EAC website can provide this information, as well.

Only U.S. Citizens May Vote

Voting in federal and state elections is a privilege reserved exclusively to U.S. citizens. There are serious immigration penalties for foreign nationals who falsely claim to hold U.S. citizenship. Voting, or even registering to vote, by permanent residents or other non-citizens can lead to immigration and other legal complications.


Voting is an important civil right, and often one of the key motivators for becoming a U.S. citizen. It would be unfortunate to miss this vital opportunity to impact our country’s future due to a failure to register to vote in time. Murthy Law Firm attorneys are available to provide guidance on becoming a U.S. citizen and for representation in naturalization cases. Individuals considering naturalization may contact our firm.


Copyright © 2014-2020, MURTHY LAW FIRM. All Rights Reserved

Disclaimer: The information provided here is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific or particular circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice nor presumed indefinitely up to date.