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ALABAMA (WHNT) – The Alabama primary election is less than a month away. If you’re new to the state, newly 18, or you just want to make sure have all the boxes checked heading into the May 24 election, here’s a rundown of the voter registration process in Alabama.

Voter registration begins when you fill out an application. Voter registration forms can be filed electronically or completed and returned to your county’s Board of Registrars office.

You are not officially registered to vote until the County Board of Registers reviews and approves your application.

The deadline to register for the primary election is May 9.

On election day, you must present a valid Alabama driver’s license or photo ID to vote. If you do not have a photo ID, you can request a free voter ID card from the state. Access the application here.

Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill told News 19 a visit to the polls allows voters to practice civic engagement.

“The voter gets to meet his or her peers who are also registered voters who go to the polls to cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice,” Merrill said.

Merrill said meeting deadlines is necessary if you want to vote in the upcoming election.

“We believe as long as people do what they’re supposed to do in a timely fashion, then they won’t have any concerns,” Merrill said.

May 17 is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot by mail. The in-person absentee application deadline is May 19.

During the 2020 election, voters concerned about COVID-19 exposure were allowed to vote via absentee ballot. This year, Alabama will scale back absentee options. As a result, you can expect to see more voters at the polls on election day.

“The number historically in the state of Alabama is 3- to 4% participation via the absentee process with 96- to 97% of our people voting in-person on election day which leads the nation,” Merrill said.

The Limestone County NAACP will host a voter information act in Athens on April 23 from 1 to 4 p.m. Attendees will be able to register to vote and pick up a voter ID card.