[Image courtesy of NASS]
With all of the controversy swirling around elections, it's always nice to see somebody, somewhere working in a constructive way to make the system work. Enter the National Association of Secretaries of State, which recently made the following announcement:
WASHINGTON, DC - The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) has declared September 2012 as National Voter Registration Month. The nation's chief state election officials are hoping to make voters aware of registration deadlines and requirements for the November 6 general election, as well as promoting state resources to help with the registration process.
Secretaries of state established September as National Voter Registration Month to encourage voter participation and increase awareness of state requirements and deadlines for voting. Despite record-breaking registration and voter turnout levels in many states for the November 2008 presidential election, six million potential voters failed to cast a ballot because they missed a voter registration deadline or didn't know how to register to vote.
"Secretaries of state want to encourage eligible voters to register and make sure their registration information is up-to-date before deadlines pass," noted NASS President Ross J. Miller, who serves as Nevada Secretary of State. "If your information is outdated or incorrect, or if you aren't sure how to register to vote, there is time to get it straightened out with your state or local election office, so you can cast your vote easily in the November 6 presidential election."
Get registered to vote. Eligible citizens who are 18 years of age or older may register to vote. Every state except North Dakota has a registration requirement for voting. Ten states currently offer online voter registration: Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Maryland, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington. Eight states (Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, Wisconsin and Wyoming) plus the District of Columbia offer Election Day Registration. North Carolina also offers same-day registration during the state's early voting period.
Check your voter registration information. Forty-three states plus the District of Columbia offer tools that allow voters to verify their registration status using the Internet. Updating voter registration information is critical for people who have recently moved, changed their name or had their voting rights restored under the law. It is also required for people who wish to switch their party affiliation.
In a concerted effort to remind eligible voters to register and/or update their voting information before deadlines pass, NASS has also declared September 25, 2012, as National Voter Registration Day. Forty-eight states plus the District of Columbia have voter registration deadlines in October.
With registration lookups and other tools proliferating almost daily (including a new open-source tool developed by the DNC), NASS' declaration has the potential to have real - and not just ceremonial - impact.
Hats off to NASS members and staff for this effort!