How to vote: Register with these easy steps and make your ballot count in 2024.

With the 2024 presidential race in full swing, Americans of all political persuasions are beginning to ponder who they might cast their ballot for next year. While the Nov. 8 general election is still far out, the state primaries are nearer, and it's never too early to make a plan to vote and to make sure you're eligible.

Considered by many the sacred duty of a citizen, making your voice heard at the ballot box requires valid voter registration. Whether you're a first-time voter or a seasoned veteran of the civic process, it's always good to make sure your registration is up to date so you can cast your ballot without any hiccups on election day.

Here's a step-by-step guide on how to register to vote, what the deadline is in your state, and who is eligible.

Know your voting rights: Our state by state guide to how voting rights are faring in each state.

How do I register to vote?

If you will be 18 years or older by Nov. 8 and meet the other eligibility requirements to vote in the upcoming midterm election, you can use the attached form to register in your state of residence.

Make a voting plan

For many, the best way to ensure that ballot gets cast is to make a voting plan ahead of Election Day.

This can mean voting by mail, requesting an absentee ballot if you are out of state, or voting early at the polling site in your district if it is available.

Information on who on your specific ballot can be found here. If you are already registered, it never hurts to check your status ahead of Election Day to ensure all your information is current.

With redistricting, sometimes your representatives will have changed, even if you haven't moved – all the more reason to look up a sample ballot and research your preferred candidates ahead of time.

When is Election Day 2024?

Nov. 8, 2024.

The general election follows a series of primary contests in each state, for each party. The date varies based on your state but will generally arrive between March and July.

Don't wait to register until a few days prior though, as the deadline will likely pass before then.

When is the deadline to register to vote?

The deadline to register to vote varies by state. Dates can also vary if you are an absentee or vote-by-mail ballot, or registering to vote in person or online.

Here is a comprehensive list of the registration deadlines for all 50 states.

Who is eligible to vote in the U.S.?

Nonprofit Democracy Works offers a tool that allows prospective voters to check eligibility in their state of residency.

For example, in New York, to vote you must:

  • be a citizen of the United States

  • be a resident of the state and the county, city or village for at least 30 days before the election

  • be 18 years old (you may pre-register at 16 or 17 but cannot vote until you are 18)

  • not be in prison for a felony conviction

  • not currently be judged mentally incompetent by order of a court of competent judicial authority

  • not claim the right to vote elsewhere

Keep informed on the 2024 presidential race with USA TODAY's election coverage, including a guide to all the candidates that have announced thus far.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: How do I register to vote? A step-by-step guide ahead of 2024 election