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COVID-19 and the Looming Eviction Crisis:
What to know if you move after your state’s voter registration deadline

With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting job losses, some 20 million people in the United States face eviction in fall 2020. Even with a federal eviction moratorium in place, tenants must proactively determine their eligibility and apply for a moratorium, and many landlords may attempt to circumvent the legal process to evict tenants who cannot afford to pay rent. Other voters, like students, may face unexpected school closures due to COVID-19 and may not know if or when they will return to the address associated with their registration. Below is a list of each state’s rules as it concerns registered voters who move after voter registration deadlines. Information about how to register to vote and request an absentee ballot is available in our State Voting Guides.


Remember to bring supporting documentation when registering or updating your address. Contact your local election officials to determine what documentation you will need to show. VoteRiders and Spread the ​Vote provide assistance to voters who need help obtaining current ID. If you experience issues in registering to vote, updating your address, or accessing a ballot, you can contact Election Protection at 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683).

Fair Elections Center intends the information contained herein to be used only as a general guide. This document should not be used as a substitute for consultation with your local election official or a legal professional licensed to practice law in your state.

FEDERAL LAW: Although state law governs election administration, federal law provides that qualified voters who move to a new jurisdiction less than 30 days before a presidential election, and who as a result are ineligible to register to vote in their new location, may vote for President and Vice President in person or by absentee ballot using their former address. See 52 U.S.C. § 10502. This rule applies to all states and the District of Columbia, even when state law does not explicitly codify it.


The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) also provides that all registered voters in states covered by the NVRA[1] who move within an election jurisdiction and within a congressional district can update their addresses and vote on Election Day. Whether they can make this update at the polls and whether they must vote at the polling place for their old address or the one for their new address depend on state law.[2]


[1] All but six states are covered by the NVRA. The states exempt from the NVRA are Idaho, Minnesota, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.


[2] 52 U.S.C. § 20507(e).

The Kentucky Equal Justice Center has developed a free online tool that can be used by tenants in any state to learn more about their rights under the CDC's eviction moratorium and how to apply for its protections.

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