Do I have to register to vote for midterms if I am already registered to vote for presidential election in the US?

I voted for the presidential elections in 2016, do I need to register to vote for the midterms?

  • 1
    I don't think this varies state-by-state, but it would help if you indicated what state you're in so we can provide a specific source. Each state runs its own elections, so the rules could theoretically be different.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 19:58
  • 2
    @Bobson - especially if it is a state that is somewhat more aggressive in finding reasons to purge voters from the rolls. Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 20:31
  • It's possible you would need to re-register if you haven't voted in the last X years, but that is typically well over 4 years. I've never heard of a state where voting in the presidential elections every 4 years wasn't sufficient to stay registered.
    – chepner
    Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 21:52
  • 1
    Re-registering never hurts. Commented Sep 20, 2018 at 22:19

3 Answers 3


You do not. If you have not moved since you last voted, then you can simply return to the precinct where you voted in the presidential election on midterm election day to cast your vote. The Wiki-how on voter registration specifies:

You only need to register again if you change your address or name, or if you would like to switch political party affiliation. In most states, you can change this information online or by filling out a new national form. If you have any questions, contact your local election office.

  • 2
    Probably not applicable to the OP, but note that if you don't vote for multiple years, some states will try to confirm your address by sending a notice in the mail. If you don't respond and continue to not vote, you could be unregistered. SCOTUS has ruled the practice legal.
    – Kevin
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 1:00
  • @Kevin how do they keep track of whether or not you voted? Do they register each voter who casts a ballot?
    – JJJ
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 1:32
  • 1
    Yes, they keep track of who votes (but not how they vote). This helps keep people from voting multiple times (or at least makes it easy to find those who do), among other benefits.
    – jaxad0127
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 2:22
  • 1
    I somewhat understand the need to register because of the lack of official records in the US about citizens. But now "switch party affiliation" baffles me - is one really supposed to undermine the voting secret by registering one's preference? (Of course, one could simply lie and no-one could check) Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 6:11
  • 3
    Party affiliation affects ability to vote in (party) primaries in many states.
    – jaxad0127
    Commented Sep 21, 2018 at 9:09

Vote.gov offers information on how to register to vote. On that page, you choose your state and you can register online.

If you don't need to register again, that should be stated on the state-specific site. For example on the Arizona site, it says:

Use EZ Voter registration to:

  • Register to vote for the first time

  • Update your address, political party preference, permanent early voting status or any other information on your voter registration record

  • To check the status of your voter registration, click here

  • To find your polling place, click here

Therefore, I suggest going to the state-specific site (via the link on vote.gov) to check the rules that apply in your state. If it works like the Arizona site, you can check your voter registration, register online and find other relevant information.


There is one scenario under which you must re-register. In many jurisdictions, you are allowed to cast a ballot in a presidential election if you are registered to vote in the state, even if it is not at your current address or precinct. You are then not permitted to vote on other races.

In midterm elections, this protection will not apply. So if you are registered to vote in one place, but actually live in another, you should re-register so that you can vote at the place you should (probably close to where you live) and on the races you should (the people who will be representing you, rather than the people who will be representing the place you are registered).

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