Register to vote

Choose your government

On August 26, 2015, only about 66 percent of eligible Americans were registered to vote, according to the Statistic Brain Research Institute.

At first, that may sound like a relatively high percentage, but it means that 44 percent, or 72 million eligible Americans will not be able to vote. The number of Americans who are not registered to vote is a shocking problem, and it must be changed.

You might be wondering, “is low voter registration really such a big problem?” Yes, it is. When we don’t register to vote, we obviously do not vote. Thus, our voices are not being heard. When citizens do not vote, we end up with a government that does not accurately reflect the views of the people. As a result, we will have a government that citizens are less likely to trust. Just by registering and voting, you can help America have a more trustworthy government.

Now that we have identified it as a problem, we should also understand what causes people to fail to register to vote. According to the Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement, on July 10, 2014, about 17 percent of young unregistered Americans said that they did not have time to register before the deadline. In most states, the registration deadline is in mid-October, so there is still plenty of time. As citizens of eligible voting age, it is up to us to be aware of the deadline and to make time to fulfill our civic duty and privilege.

The easiest solution for low voter registration on an individual level is to have an interest in voting. While it can seem like a hassle, it is very important. If we want a say in our government, and if we want our voices to be heard, it is up to us to make it happen.

In order to register to vote, you can either visit a State Revenue Office or a Driver Services Office, or you can apply for a registration form online on your state’s Secretary of State website. The form will then be mailed to you, and you can complete registration by mail. If you will be absent from your voting location on Election Day, you can also download an absentee ballot request form on the Secretary of State website. When you have completed and signed the form, it should be mailed to your county clerk.

The shocking amount of Americans who are unregistered to vote must be changed, and we can start with ourselves. The 2016 election is going to be very critical for the future of our nation. Do not let your voice be left unheard. Make sure you register and vote this year.