[Image via nationalvoterregistrationday]
Today is the 5th annual National Voter Registration Day – a day dedicated to ensuring that every eligible American who wants to register to vote can do so. Here’s what the folks at NVRD have to say about the effort:
In 2008, 6 million Americans didn’t vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register. In 2016, we want to make sure no one is left out. On September 27, 2016, volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from all over the country will “hit the streets” for National Voter Registration Day. This single day of coordinated ﬁeld, technology and media efforts will create pervasive awareness of voter registration opportunities–allowing us to reach tens of thousands of voters who we could not reach otherwise.
What It Means
- Volunteers at transportation hubs, retail stores, sporting events, and concerts.
- Technology to help eligible voters ﬁnd registration drives nearby and register to vote online.
- A network of grassroots, local organizations engaged in their own communities.
- Tens of thousands of voters registering to vote online and ofﬂine in a single day.
What It Will Accomplish
Register Voters: A network of a thousand organizations operating on the ground and through social media will register tens of thousands of voters in the ﬁeld and tens of thousands more online while also receiving pledges to vote from those already registered.
Mobilize Volunteers: By partnering with nonproﬁts not usually engaged in voter registration drives, and amplifying existing drives through event-based recruitment and cultural outreach, National Voter Registration Day will bring together thousands of volunteers across the nation to register voters.
Educate Eligible Voters: Millions of voters need to register and re-register every year. By utilizing new technology and leveraging partners, we’ll educate more Americans than ever before, bringing new voters into the fold.
Change the Conversation: National Voter Registration Day will be an opportunity to put our differences aside and celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans; democracy.
In addition, the President has once again issued a proclamation honoring the day:
One of the most fundamental and sacred rights of any democracy is the right to vote; in order for our government to function effectively and respond to the needs of our people, all citizens can and must play a role in shaping it. Each year on National Voter Registration Day, we reaffirm the strong sense of civic pride among our people and encourage friends, family members, and neighbors to get involved in civic life by registering to vote.
Democracy is not a spectator sport. If we are serious about improving our country and ensuring our government reflects our values, we cannot afford to sit out on Election Day. Unfortunately, among those who are eligible to vote, too many choose not to — far too many people disenfranchise themselves by not getting involved. When we do not take full advantage of the right to vote, we not only give away our voice; our power; our ability to shape the future of the country we love — we also do a disservice to the generations of Americans before us who risked everything, including their lives, to protect this fundamental aspect of our Republic.
Our brand of democracy is hard, and it requires our citizens to be able to fully participate in a smooth and effective way. Through a bipartisan, independent commission dedicated to improving the voting process, we are working to ensure our democracy and our elections function the way they are supposed to. Whether through strengthening mechanisms that allow more people to vote — such as online registration — or going door-to-door to register voters in our communities, we must make registering to vote easier. By protecting and expanding this right, we can ensure this grand experiment in self-government works for more Americans. For more information on how to register to vote, visit www.VOTE.USA.gov.
It is easy to feel frustrated when the pace of change is slow — and to lose hope in the political process as a result. But we cannot give in to that cynicism. Heroic things happen when people get involved. Our government is only as strong as what we put into it, and it is only reflective of the will of our citizenry when we exercise our right to vote. Today, as we once again celebrate National Voter Registration Day, let us carry forward the tradition of promoting voter registration and civic engagement, recommit to exercising one of the most precious of our democratic rights, and remember that the task of perfecting our Union belongs to us all.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim September 27, 2016, as National Voter Registration Day. I call upon all Americans to observe this day by ensuring they are registered to vote.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-sixth day of September, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.
It will be extremely difficult not to encounter one or more events in your community celebrating National Voter Registration Day; for information on what’s happening in your area, check out the NVRD “Events” page. You can also follow the activity on Twitter using the hashtag #VoterRegistrationDay. Even if you’re already registered to vote, today’s the perfect time to check your registration, verify that it’s correct and make any necessary changes before Election Day.
It’s also my 5th annual reminder that today is the day that my friends in the election community get to be the “cool kids” – so come on out and celebrate!