If you are anything like me, you signed up to vote the first time volunteers with clipboards came knocking at your college dorm. It wasn’t even a presidential election year, but it was exciting to punch that first ballot – even if it was only for the city council.
I know YOU are registered to vote, right? But how about your friends and family? Well, Tuesday September 25 is National Voter Registration Day, a nonpartisan event to encourage people everywhere to get signed up before the November election.
Image Credit: nfontes via flickr
Why this day? In most states, the deadline to register is closing soon. Where I live, in California, you need to have completed the form by October 22 and in many states it’s even earlier.
Voter registration is more important than ever this year. Thirty states have passed strict voter ID laws that conservatives say will prevent fraudulent voting. But civil rights groups say these laws basically serve as voter suppression – by making it difficult for groups that tend to vote for Democrats, such as blacks, Latinos, Asians, Native Americans, young people and the poor. According to a new study by the Advancement Project, the laws could prevent 10 million eligible Hispanics alone from going to the polls.
Benjamin Jealous, President of the NAACP said in a press conference last week,
“You’d have to go back to Jim Crow to find more voter suppression laws being passed.”
Here’s an example of how voter ID laws could affect people: while I may have cast my first ballot as a college student, under some new voting laws, student ID cards aren’t valid forms of identification for registering to vote. However, your gun registration license will likely serve just fine.
“I’m talking about women who just haven’t gotten around to changing their names on their driver’s licenses because of the paperwork and time required — either because they’ve gotten married or divorced.”
Want a laugh? Check out these Sarah Silverman’s hilarious video, Let My People Vote (potty mouth alert, you have been warned).
And if you’re not yet registered to vote, don’t be embarrassed. You don’t have to tell anyone. Search for your local Secretary of State office for more information or simply click on one of these non-partisan links and sign yourself up.
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