Are you registered to vote? Who’s running for what office? Where do you go cast your ballot, and when? These are all important questions in the democratic process of voting and elections. The United States grants every citizen over the age of 18 the right to vote. Thanks to laws such as the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), we also have the right to view records and other information related to the election process.
Voter registration records will typically contain information that you provided when you registered to vote. This information can include address, name, and date of birth. Voter registration records can be used to determine your registration status, appropriate precinct location, or legislative district.
Many states provide online access to voter records. For example, in Washington State, you can search for voter records using your full name and date of birth. The search results produced will show name, gender, birth date, voter status, and county. If you have voted in the past, there will also be information about your voting history. In addition to you own information, you can also find out about Congressional, State Executive, Legislative, and Judicial Candidates. You can learn about what office a candidate is running for, their party affiliation, contact information, career experience, education, and their goals for office. You can also learn about who the current elected officials are for all Federal, State, Local, and Judicial Offices.
However, you do not have to access your voter records to access election information. Many counties provide access to information related all candidates running for office. Counties may also provide online information to locate your polling place. Searches can generally be performed by address. Other election records that may be of great interest include campaign finance records. These records allow us to view the expenditures and contributions of the candidates running for office.
The location of voter and election records will vary by state. However, generally, the voter and election records are the responsibility of the State’s Secretary of State and/or a the local County Clerk or County Recorder. If you are not already registered to vote, you can contact one of these offices to complete your registration. Where online access is not available, information can easily be obtained by contacted the appropriate office by phone, mail, fax, or even by email in some cases. For links and contact information to voter and election records in your area, visit The Free Public Records Directory. When making a records request, you should keep in mind that while voter records are public record, due to the possible existence of sensitive information such as social security numbers, if you request records for anyone other than yourself, you may have to explain the purpose for your request.