Do You Need an ID? (Most expansive)

No document is required to vote. In 2012, Pennsylvania passed a law requiring photo ID at the polls, but it was challenged in court on the grounds that it discriminated against low-income and minority voters. The first injunction was put in place by October 2012 and extended through 2013. A permanent injunction was granted in January 2014; the governor announced he would not appeal the case, effectively terminating the law.

Do You Need an Excuse to Vote Absentee? (Restrictive)

Voters must provide an excuse to mail in an absentee ballot.

What if You Have a Felony Conviction? (Expansive)

Felons are prohibited from voting while in prison. In 2000, a court ruling overturned a previous law requiring those convicted of felonies to wait five years before re-registering to vote, declaring it unconstitutional.

Can You Vote In Person Before Election Day? (Most restrictive)

No early voting.



Absentee Voting Gets Easier

Nearly 17 percent of the U.S. electorate voted by mail in 2012

Voting Early More Often

36 states allow people to vote in person before Election Day

Who Loses the Right to Vote

All but two states have laws that keep felons from voting

Voter ID Laws Gain Momentum

But many are also being challenged in court

Recent Stories

Introducing “Ballot Watch”

Who's allowed to vote? And when? As the November midterms approach, find out how voting laws are changing state-by-state in our interactive database.

Where is Voter Discrimination the Worst?

Voting discrimination persists nationwide, but the worst offenders today are still southern states with a history of blocking minorities' access to the ballot, according to a new study by the National Commission on Voting Rights.

New Voter ID Laws Hit Setbacks

Courts are pushing back against laws in the wake of the Supreme Court’s Shelby decision. Several legal battles are still ahead.