By Maggie Duncan, Elections Program Manager, League of Women Voters. This post was originally published on the LWV blog.
National Voter Registration Day, a nationwide, nonpartisan effort to register thousands of voters on one single day is fast approaching.
On September 24th, League of Women Voters volunteers will join forces with celebrities, businesses, activists, local officials, social service providers and a whole host of others across the country in an unprecedented effort to help Americans get registered to vote. All in all, nearly 600 partners are participating in what promises to be another memorable day for voter registration!
In 2012, the single coordinated day of voter registration resulted in more than 300,000 new voters registered nationwide! Last year, nearly 250 Leagues across the country participated for this first-time event. (Check out photos from last year’s League voter registration efforts.) More Leagues and partners are already signed up to participate in 2013, signaling that National Voter Registration Day will be a holiday worth celebrating for years to come.
Did you know that 24 percent of eligible voters are not registered to vote, and close to 75 percent of Americans that are registered to vote make it to the polls? Imagine what our elections and country might look like if every single eligible American was registered to vote. Voter registration is the key to getting Americans participating in the political process. That is why we’re committed to National Voter Registration Day, and it is why League volunteers will be out in force right up until every state’s registration deadlines passes, this year and every year.
In 2013, we’re particularly proud that League volunteers will be out in full force once again – currently close to 300 Leagues from 42 states are hosting registration events – and many Leagues are holding multiple registration events at the same time. Their message is clear: this may not be a presidential election year, but millions of Americans will still vote in important elections this year. National Voter Registration Day is the perfect time to register for the first time, update your voter registration if you have moved, or ask your friends and family to make sure they’re registered.
Here’s just a sampling of League registration activities happening on National Voter Registration Day: the League of Women Voters of the City of New York, along with partners including Rock the Vote, CUNY, NALEO, and Voto Latino will host a day-long voter registration party in Manhattan’s Bryant Park; Florida Leagues in at least eleven cities will be out registering students on university/community college campuses and other venues, and the League of Women Voters of Troy Area, Michigan will be hosting a reception to welcome 50 newly naturalized citizens to their new country and register them to vote. We can’t wait to hear more about all the exciting events being planned.
Even though it’s an off year for elections, there are still many important races taking place around the country. These races are all about jobs, economic security, the environment, health care and our communities. Know this – the elections in November will impact you and the people in your life. Voting is your chance to stand up for the issues you believe in; so don’t skip out, get registered and vote.
In 2006, the League launched VOTE411.org, the nation’s leading online election resource providing millions of voters with the information they need on absentee and early voting options, registration deadlines, ID requirements, the candidates’ vision for America’s future, and other important updates regarding any changes they should expect to see at the polls.
Registration deadlines begin soon in many states, and time is running out. What are two things everyone can do to be a part of these voter registration efforts?
1. Help get new voters registered and remember to remind them to head to the polls on November 5. Talk to the people in your life that you think may not be registered — perhaps they weren’t 18 for the last election, perhaps they need to update their registration because they’ve moved, or perhaps they’ve never engaged in the political process before. Send them to our online voter registration tool on VOTE411.org.
2. Take a picture of yourself with your voter registration application or wearing an “I’m registered” sticker, and post it on Facebook or Twitter in order to encourage your friends to get registered.
Join with your neighbors in voting on Election Day, and be sure to visit www.VOTE411.org for all the election information you need.