How do you register and vote in the midterms?

Here's a quick guide to deadlines, mail-in voting and how the laws have changed.

ByTal Axelrod ABC logo
Monday, October 31, 2022
Battle for control over Congress a major focus of 2022 elections
Democrats currently have a slim control over the U.S. Congress, and Republicans are hoping to make major gains to win back power.

Early voting is already underway in the midterm elections, though this year voters in some states are dealing with new laws governing how to cast ballots.

Some states have expanded access to the ballot, while others have sharply restricted it, with many of the new laws focusing on early and absentee voting.

Want to know how to register and vote, including how to request mail-in ballots? Read on.

How to vote

First, you have to register to vote by your state's specified deadline before casting any ballots this midterm cycle. Once your registration is complete, you can vote in-person, by mail ballot or by dropping off your ballot in a drop box -- but be sure to check your state's laws first.

The FBI has warned of threats to potential voters and poll workers and authorities have investigated multiple cases of voter intimidation.

Requesting a mail-in ballot

Voters in multiple states are allowed to request mail-in ballots, with some having to provide a reason they can't vote in person and others being able to request an absentee ballot for no specific reason. Here is a breakdown by state.

However, former President Donald Trump and his allies have criticized the method, leading some GOP-controlled state legislatures to restrict it.

Has your state made it harder to vote?

Since the 2020 election, FiveThirtyEight identified 24 states that have passed 56 new laws that restrict voting -- in some cases affecting nearly every step of the process. Click here to see if and how your state has changed its voting process.

Why the midterms are so important

The midterms are a revealing snapshot halfway into each president's term of the issues, candidates and political parties voters are prioritizing. This year's results will help determine how much Joe Biden can -- and cannot -- get done with Congress for the next two years.