Voter registration is a vital component of the U.S. electoral system; one of the keys that unlocks the door to our democracy. Voter registration is also a shared civic duty, not the responsibility of a single government office or advocacy organization.
During the 2012 election cycle, a group of organizations came together to establish a National Voter Registration Day (NVRD) that would encourage and recognize the importance of voter registration efforts across the country. This year, there are over 2,000 partner organizations for National Voter Registration Day from a range of sectors: high schools, colleges, national and local nonprofits, county elections offices, Greek organizations, unions, and municipalities.
CIRCLE is proud to be one of those partner organizations and help to #CelebrateNVRD on September 23.
Our research on youth voting and political engagement underscores the importance of voter registration efforts. Data about why youth do not register and how youth register in midterm election years point to an increased need to provide young people, many of whom are first-time voters, with basic registration and election information. With the November midterms less than two months away, these efforts could be crucial in increasing political participation.
Another key partner of NVRD is the National Association of Secretaries of State. Increasingly, states are allowing online voter registration, as well as allowing citizens to check their registration status online. In fact, just last week, the Indiana Secretary of State office launched a new mobile app that lets users register using their smartphones.
A number of high schools have also signed on to help celebrate NVRD. These are important partnerships, as schools are in a unique position to help introduce young people to the electoral process in a structured environment, often within the context of a civics or U.S. government class. Organizations such as the League of Women Voters—another strong NVRD partner—have developed important resources to help facilitate voter registration in high schools.
Additionally, focused lesson plans can help teachers integrate voter registration and elections into curricula that meet their state standards. The Center for Action Civics has an Elections in Action series of lesson plans for middle school and high school classrooms.
We look forward to learning about other innovating and exciting voter registration efforts this year.
Information on voter registration, tools for running an event can be found on the National Voter Registration Day’s website.