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Election laws are changing all over the country. What does it mean for you on election day?

The pundits spent their week speculating about which GOP candidates were up and which were down after Monday’s New Hampshire debate. We’ll leave the horse race chatter to them.  Instead of focusing on who might get your vote, we’d like to look instead at how that vote might be cast.

This year, at least 17 states (including battlegrounds like Florida, Wisconsin and Ohio) are making some significant changes to their voting rules. They’re changing the rules about when you can vote and what identification you’ll need to show at your polling place. Nearly all of these legislatures are controlled by Republicans, who say these new laws are needed to stamp out voter fraud. Democrats argue that the changes are really an effort to make it harder for some of their supporters to vote. So what’s really going on?

We went to Ohio to look at what’s happening in that state.

Given that election laws are in flux in so many states, and given that we’re only seven months away from the first presidential primaries, we put together a list of non-partisan organizations that can help you understand the voting rules in your state:

  • The League of Women Voters is one of the country’s oldest election and voter-registration organizations. Their Vote 411 project is a great site, which has a wealth of state-by-state information about voter registration, voter identification, election dates and polling places.
  • The National Conference of State Legislatures also has a useful compilation about your state’s voter identification rules.  These voter ID rules (meaning what form of identification you’ll need to bring with you on election day) are changing all over the country, so their state-by-state breakdown is worth reading.
  • Can I Vote” is another great website for voter information. It’s run by the National Association of Secretaries of State and it compiles state-by-state data on all manner of voting rules.
  • If you’re wondering whether you can vote early where you live, this website is very helpful. It’s affiliated with the National Council on State Legislatures. For you early-voting wonks, this site — www.earlyvoting.net — has a lot of good information about trends in early voting laws nationwide.