The One Important Step You Might Be Forgetting After Changing Your Name
Now that you've said "I do," you'll want to take care of your first steps as a newlywed. Changing your last name after the wedding is one task you may want to complete ASAP, while another step is changing your name on your voter registration. At The Knot, we encourage our couples to put their beliefs and values at the forefront of their weddings as well as their newlywed lives after the fact. To help, we put together a comprehensive guide on how to change your name on your voter registration; plus, how to check your current status and the registration deadline, all of which will come in handy as the 2020 Presidential election quickly approaches. Remember that you don't have to change your name after you exhange vows (many people keep their last names after the fact). But if you decide to take your partner's last name, we've got you covered.
If you're in the process of changing your last name, we have step-by-step guides for every state (from Texas to New York to Illinois to California). But 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 proces." Wolff says the the name change processes across the different states are similar, but they can vary slightly.
As such, the requirements for changing your voter registration differ state by state. Check to find out your state's requirements on how to change your name on your voter registration online. Several sites such as Vote.gov, Vote.org and Headcount.org all offer the information you need to change your voter registration.
Voter Registration Deadline
As with requirements for changing your name, 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 election is in November 2020, voter registration deadlines are quickly approaching, so check on your status and get registered ASAP (or help your partner do so).
How to Check Your Voter Registration
Those unsure if they adjusted their voter registration after changing their last names will be glad to know there's an easy way to check. Vote.org offers an efficient online form that will confirm 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. If not, there are different ways to update your name.
How to Change Voter Registration
If you're wondering how to change your name on your voter registration, we're here to help. Here are four different ways you can update your information in time for the election.
How to Change Name on Voter Registration
- Online: This option is available to 40 states in addition to the District of Columbia. Head to Vote.gov and identity which state you live in. The site will direct you to your state's election website so you can complete your online voter registration. You can also go to your state's election website directly if you know how to locate it. You'll need your driver's license and the last four digits of your social security number to confirm your identity.
- Mail: Go to Vote.gov or your state's election website to download the form and fill it out. Mail the registration form into 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 details over the phone.
- In-Person: Changing your voter registration in-person is an option, but it's a bit more challenging with the coronavirus pandemic. Identify your election office and call to see if they're open or offering in-person services. Remember to take the proper precautions (wear a mask, stay six feet apart, and wash your hands after). If they're not offering in-person registration, you'll have to change your information over the phone, by mail or online.
Can I vote with my maiden name?
Wondering if you can vote with your maiden name? Unfortunately, the answer is no. If you've legally changed your last name, then your voter registration information won't match public records—thus making your current registration invalid. If, however, you decided to keep your maiden name, you're free to leave your voter registration as-is and vote in the upcoming election.
Newlyweds who've legally changed their last name must change their name on their voter registration in order to participate in elections. If you're in the process of updating your last name, don't forget this step so you don't have any issues come November.
How to Change Address on Voter Registration
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. After all, living out your values doesn't stop once your wedding is over. Register before your state's deadline, research the candidates on your ballot, and vote on (or by) November 3, 2020. Mark the occasion by planning a special date night after you vote so you can celebrate your civic contribution.
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