18? Here’s how to register to vote in the upcoming election

Isabel Hanewicz, RHStoday Editor-in-Chief

Sept. 27 is National Voter Registration Day, and with November’s heavily-publicized election around the corner, now is a great time to register to vote. Students who turn 18 by Nov. 8 are eligible to vote in this year’s election. First-time voters like students must register to vote by Oct. 11 in order to cast their ballot on Election Day, although some may have pre-registered to vote at the DMV when receiving a driver’s license.

If you’re 18, or will be 18 by Election Day, here’s what you need to do in order to vote:

1.) Register to vote with the Hillsborough County Office of Elections by Oct. 11

  • If you pre-registered to vote when you were 16 or 17, most likely when at the DMV, double-check your voter’s registration status by clicking here. You should receive your voter’s information card in the mail.
  • If you need to register to vote, click here. You may hand-write or type information into the form, but all forms must be mailed to a Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections Office. You can also register in-person at the DMV, public libraries, various state agencies or an Armed Forces Recruiting Office.

2.) Review sample ballots to inform your choices

  • The presidential race isn’t the only election on the ballot. Once you’ve registered, use Hillsborough County’s sample ballot to see which races and candidates will be on your ticket on Election Day.

3.) Vote by mail, in early voting or on Election Day

  • Mail-in-Ballot: Voting by mail is the quickest and easiest way to vote. You can request a mail-in-ballot online here, or by phone, email, fax or in person at a Supervisor of Elections Office. You must request a mail-in-ballot at the latest by 5 p.m. six days before the election, and ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day to be counted. While the ballots can be dropped off in person, postage is included so that you can mail your ballot back to a Supervisor of Elections office for free.
  • Early Voting: Early voting starts Oct. 24 and ends Nov. 6. Unlike voting on Election Day, voting early allows you to vote at any of the 16 early voting sites, not just your assigned precinct. Click here for a map of early voting sites.
  • Election Day Voting: Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 8 for Election Day Voting. You must vote at your assigned precinct in order for your vote to count. Click here to find your correct precinct.