A registered voter is a person who is eligible to vote and has filled out all the proper documentation to do so. Most states that allow citizens to initiate ballot measures through the collection of valid signatures on petitions require that those who sign the petition must be registered voters.
The rules for what must happen before someone is considered to be a registered voter vary from state to state.
During the signature validation phase of certifying an initiative or a candidate for the ballot, the duly-appointed government officials in charge of signature validation in a particular state must check individual signatures on petition forms against a list of registered voters kept by the state or by county officials.
- See also eligible voter.
Motor Voter Registration
In many states a voter is automatically registered to vote when they obtain a drivers license. This process is called a motor voter registration. In some states motor voter registrants are only allowed to vote in federal elections and are not eligible to vote in state or local elections. In this case the voter must also register with the election authority to be eligible to vote in all elections.
Face to Face Registration
Most registration is done face to face with an approved voter registrar, who verifies identity along with eligibility. Once the proper form has been filled and filed with the election authority the voter may vote. There is usually a window of time where a voter may not register just prior to an election. There are districts that allow same day registration and voting.
The list of registered voter, those eligible to vote, can be obtained from the local election authority. This should be the only list that the campaign works from, as it makes no sense to contact those that are not eligible to vote. Voter lists also contain valuable information about the voter such as address, phone number, age, sex and past voting record.