The deadline to register to vote in time to participate in the November 3rd Presidential election is October 5th, but today (September 22nd) is National Voter Registration Day.
National Voter Registration Day is celebrated every year on the fourth Tuesday of September. First celebrated in 2012, it is a nonpartisan civic holiday that celebrates our democracy, and one that involves the collective efforts of thousands of volunteers, nonprofi t organizations, businesses, schools, libraries, election offi cials, and more from all over the country, according to the website, www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org
By engaging thousands of community and online partners and volunteers in a massive single-day event, the goal of the holiday is to “saturate the media, light up the internet, and reach hundreds of thousands of new voters who haven’t yet registered or need to update their registration before the November elections.”
National Voter Registration Day is supported by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS), the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED), the National Association of Election Officials (Election Center) and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC).
There is an information gap that prevents voting-eligible citizens from getting registered to vote, casting a ballot, and having their voices heard in our democracy. Voters need to register or update their registration for reasons such as moving to a new address, turning 18, becoming a citizen, or changing their names. Many Americans are unaware of this need and miss deadlines in their states that prevent them from voting.
In the last U.S. presidential election in 2016, over 34 million potential voters reported being unable to vote due to not being registered. In a 2020 study by the Knight Foundation, more than one in four unregistered voters (27%) reported not being registered because they didn’t know how, they kept forgetting, they didn’t have time, were too busy, or they recently moved. Among unregistered voters ages 18-24, this number was even higher: 42%.1
National Voter Registration Day wants to make sure no one who wants to cast a ballot misses the opportunity due to a registration problem. Political parties and candidates tend to focus their outreach efforts on individuals with a track record of voting, thereby leaving out – and in turn, keeping out – many eligible voters from the political process.
To address this gap, National Voter Registration Day works through a vast network of partners, seeks to meet eligible voters where they are – on college campuses, in libraries, in coffee shops, online, and more – to encourage them to register to vote. Beyond registering voters, National Voter Registration Day also seeks to raise awareness of state-specific voter registration deadlines and policies, educate voters on election information and their different options for casting a ballot, and drum up enthusiasm for political participation.
For more information, and more ways to spread the word to your friends and family, visit www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org
Early voting for the election will run from October 14th through the 29th in Tennessee, with polling locations open Mondays through Saturdays. The final day to request an absentee ballot to vote by mail in the election is October 27th, and again, the deadline to register to vote in time to be eligible to take part in November’s election is October 5th.