Sept. 27 was National Voter Registration Day. Every year, this day lands on the fourth Tuesday of September to encourage citizens to get active in their government. To me, it is the most important day of the election year, even more important than the day we vote; without registering, you don't get to turn in that ballot.
This revolutionary day was created as a way to connect to citizens through many media outlets and persuasively remind our lovely citizens to take those 5 minutes to register. This year to promote voter registration, Twitter trended the hashtag #NationalVoterRegistrationDay and celebrities like Stephen Colbert, Olivia Wilde and Dwayne Johnson encouraged registration. Model Kendall Jenner appeared on MTV to support the non-profit foundation, Rock the Vote. Articles were published by major news sources, like USA Today, to raise awareness. Tables were set up for people to register in person and the link was spread across social media for citizens to register online. According to the National Voter Registration website, this magical day was created to combat the issue the USA faced in 2008 when six million citizens missed the voter registration deadline. National Voter Registration day is a crucial day dedicated entirely to reaching out to the tens of thousands of citizens who need to register or re-register.
As a 19-year-old, this is my very first election I get to vote in. After years of learning about our political system, I finally get to speak up and vote for what I believe in. I'm no longer a bystander to the decisions of our democracy, I am a contributor. This election, like any election, will greatly affect our country and possibly be a first in our history books. Think about it. In 20 years, this election will be in our children's history books and we will be able to reflect on our contributions and proudly share them with our little ones. I want my voice to be heard. I want each citizen's voice to be heard. That is exactly the goal of National Voter Registration Day. Specifically, the four goals are to register voters, mobilize volunteers, educate eligible voters and change the conversation. Online and offline registration spikes during this day, volunteers set themselves up at popular areas likes subway stations, retail stores, concerts, college campuses and sporting events. Organizations like Rock the Vote go on a PR frenzy and ultimately all people get involved.
Next to the importance of registering and voting, it is important to educate yourself on the location of your poll, the propositions on the ballot, your local candidates, the presidential candidates and the issues each focuses on. My recommendation is to watch the presidential debates, read the news articles and strike up conversations with your peers. This is your country, so vote so that you can help shape its future. Even though voter registration day has passed, you still have time to register! The last day to register is 15 days before voting (Oct. 24) It's not too late, so register right now so that you are prepared to do your civic duty on November 8.
Here is the link to register: https://vote.gov/?1
Here is a political party test to see which ideology you fit best: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/spc/vote2012/quiz/
Here is the link to the non-profit organization Rock the Vote!: https://www.rockthevote.com/
Here is the link to the National Voter Registration Day Website: http://nationalvoterregistrationday.org/
Here is the link to USA Today's #votingbecause movement: http://votingbecause.usatoday.com/