How to not mess up voting with a US interstate move?
August 15, 2020 6:09 PM   Subscribe

I am a WA state resident and registered to vote there. Circa October 1 I will be moving from WA to CA. It is very important to me that I be able to vote in the upcoming presidential election without any hint of delay or improper action on my part. What is the fastest/cleanest route to maintaining a valid voter registration?

This is pretty close to mid-October voter registration deadlines. Can I legally still vote in WA for this election? Ordinarily I would take care of this at the California DMV when I transfer my driver license, but I am not sure I can get new residency documentation put together in time and I know public agencies may be less available or slower than usual due to COVID.

(If it makes a difference, I have a previous CA driver license but it expired in May of this year.)
posted by 4rtemis to Law & Government (2 answers total)
Do you care which of the two states you vote in? Obviously neither is going to make a difference to the outcome of the presidential election but each has important local and state races.

Assuming you are ok with voting in California, you can register online up to October 19, or you can do same day registration at voting centers, which are open for 10-14 days (depends on county, I think) before November 3. All the details are on the SOS website.
posted by caek at 6:22 PM on August 15, 2020 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It appears that you can register to vote without having a California state ID. From the Voter Registration FAQ:
Do I need a California driver license or California identification card to apply online? What happens if the Department of Motor Vehicles does not have my signature on file when I try to submit an application online?

All Californians who are eligible to vote may fill out an online voter registration application at ... If you do not have a California driver license or identification card number, but you enter your other information, the website will create a pre-filled voter registration application for you to print, sign, and mail. All of your information will be sent directly to your county elections office so that when your signed application arrives in the mail, the county elections staff will simply add your signature to your voter registration record.
Lower down on the page, they explain that having the State ID is effectively just a convenience that allows the Elections folks to get a verified copy of your signature from the DMV, and that "[y]our county elections official will contact you when your voter registration application is approved or if more information is needed to confirm your eligibility."

In your situation, I would fill out the online application with your new address and new information, and mail the signed voter application the day you move. (You could even mail it in before you move, assuming that the application doesn't require you to certify that you live at the named address at the time of your signature.) That way, you have as much time as possible to provide any additional information that the county elections staff might need.
posted by Johnny Assay at 6:30 AM on August 16, 2020 [1 favorite]

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