The Newlyweds' Guide to Voter Registration Name Changes

When that newlywed glow meets the post-vote glow.
How to change name on voter registration
Photo: Getty Images | LPETTET
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by
Wendy Rose Gould
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Wendy Rose Gould
The Knot Contributor
  • Wendy Rose Gould is a freelance reporter based in Phoenix, Arizona.
  • Along with The Knot, she contributes to Martha Stewart Living, Real Simple, Insider, Verywell Mind and others.
  • Wendy has a degree in editorial journalism and a second degree in philosophy.
Updated Dec 11, 2023
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Congratulations on recently getting married! While we'd bet that all the excitement hasn't faded quite yet, it's time to square away newlywed tasks like changing your last name (if you've chosen to do so). Along with updating your passport to reflect your new moniker, a voter registration name change is another must to add to your list.

"If you've legally changed your last name, you do need to re-register to vote," says attorney Mitchel Ashley of The Ashley Law Firm. "You don't need to show ID to vote, but you do need to sign your name. If you now have a new last name, you have to register to vote under that name."

To help you navigate this process (which isn't too hard—we promise!), we've put together a comprehensive guide on how to change your name on your voter registration. From how to check your current voter registration status to the deadline to get all this taken care of, learn it all below.

In this article:

How to Change The Name on Your Voter Registration

The requirements for a voter registration name change differ from state to state. You can find out your state's specific requirements on websites such as Vote.gov, Vote.org and Headcount.org, which all offer the information you need to change your voter registration.

Generally speaking, though, there are four primary ways you can change the name on your voter's registration:

  • Online: This option is available in most states in addition to the District of Columbia, Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Go to Vote.gov and identify which state you live in. From there, the site will direct you to your state's election website so you can complete your online voter registration. You'll need your driver's license and the last four digits of your social security number to confirm your identity.
  • Mail: Head to Vote.gov or your state's election website to download the form and fill it out. Mail the registration form to the correct office ASAP (give yourself extra time in case of delays).
  • Phone: Locate your election office by heading to Usa.gov/election-office. Once you identify the correct location, call the number and confirm your name change details over the phone.
  • In-Person: Changing your voter registration in person is another option. Simply identify your local election office and call to see if/when they're open or offering in-person services. If they currently don't offer in-person registration, you'll have to change your information over the phone, by mail or online.

When Is the Voter Registration Deadline?

As with requirements for changing your name, Ashley notes that voter registration deadlines vary from state to state. We encourage couples to refer directly to the guide on Vote.org, which lists the deadlines for in-person, mail-in and online registration.

If you're planning on mailing your registration information, factor in extra time for delays. As the next presidential election is on November 5, 2024, voter registration deadlines are quickly approaching—so check on your status and get registered ASAP (or help your partner do so). There are also unique deadlines associated with presidential primaries and local elections.

How to Check Your Voter Registration

There's an easy way to double-check that your newly updated voter registration name change went through smoothly: Head to Vote.org, which provides an efficient online form that confirms your current registration status. Simply fill out the required information and check to see what it says. If you're registered correctly, you're good to go.

Do You Have to Register Your Name Change to Vote?

You can vote only with your current legal name. If you've yet to legally change your last name when the elections roll around and you are registered to vote with your original last name, then you should use your original last name to vote.

If you've legally changed your last name but haven't formally indicated that on your voter registration before the registration deadline, then your vote will not be counted.

Can I Vote With My Maiden Name?

If you or your partner have legally changed your last names—including hyphenated names—then you cannot vote with your maiden name. As Ashley explains, this is because your voter registration information won't match public records, thus making your current registration invalid.

Follow the steps outlined above and you're golden. If you never legally changed your last name, then you can vote with your maiden or original last name.

How to Change Your Address on Voter Registration

A marriage and a new house? Look at you thriving! If you and your partner have moved to a new home since exchanging vows, you'll need to update your voter registration accordingly. The process is the same for changing your name: Change your address on your voter registration online (if your state allows it), by mail, over the phone or in person.

As with changing the name on your voter registration, give yourself enough time to update your address. Register before your state's deadline, research the candidates on your ballot and vote on (or by) November 5, 2024. Mark the occasion by planning a special date night after you vote so you can celebrate your civic contribution!

Do I Have to Change My Voter Registration If My Name Hasn't Changed?

You do not need to complete a voter registration name change until you legally change your last name. If you're currently navigating that process, we have step-by-step guides for every state, including Texas, New York, Illinois, California and Wyoming.

To streamline the process even more so, HitchSwitch also makes the process extremely easy for newlyweds everywhere. "Clients no longer have to endlessly search Google only to have to read through multiple pages of single-spaced government instructions," says Jake Wolff, founder of HitchSwitch. "HitchSwitch helps newlyweds by taking all of the complexities out of the name change process."

All that said, know that you don't have to change your name after getting married. In fact, many don't! In that case, you don't need to worry about all the legal hoops and complete a voter registration name change.

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