National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, Sept. 20
Based on 2020 U.S. Census data, as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote, according to NationalVoterRegistrationday.org.
The website also says millions of Americans every year find themselves unable to vote because they miss a registration deadline, don’t update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register.
The solution is an annual, national nonpartisan civic holiday to educate and encourage eligible voters to register. This year, National Voter Registration Day falls on September 20, and includes online and in-person events across the country to register voters ahead of the hotly contested midterm elections.
WGCU recently spoke with Trish Robertson with the Collier County Supervisor of Elections Office to learn how that county is participating in National Voter Registration Day.
“Voter Registration day is a great reminder for individuals who are eligible to vote to ensure that they're eligible to vote, or to, in fact, register to vote, making sure that they are registered in time for the upcoming election,” said Robertson. “For this general election in November, the voter registration deadline in the state of Florida is October 11th. So, we like people to register early. That way they don't have to think about it last minute and they don't get caught at the polls unregistered.”
Robertson also recommends that, even if you believe you’ve already registered to vote, it’s important to double check.
“I encourage you to check your registration status,” she said, “even if you know for sure that you are already registered to vote. Look up your voter information, because there may be something that needs to be updated, whether it's your name or your address.”
If you plan on voting in person, Robertson also recommends verifying your precinct and polling location while verifying your voter registration.
“We have a lot of redistricting that happened in the past year because the whole country went through a redistricting process after the 2020 census,” she said. “So, I can guarantee you that something has actually changed in your voter record and we want you to be prepared before you show up at the polls.”
Another important reason for National Voter Registration Day is to exercise the American right to vote to elect your civic leaders. Robertson encourages voters to turn out even though this is not a presidential election year.
“It's so important that you participate in those kinds of elections because the people that you elect in these positions are individuals and leaders who are going to be making decisions that directly impact your daily lives, she said. “So, these are leaders in our community that are overseeing or budgets that affect our growth managing within the county. These are the individuals who provide response to major catastrophes. I mean, we're in the middle of hurricane season. And so, you've got these leaders that you're electing who are making those response decisions to how they're going to help the public with that.
“There are also school board races. So, individuals who are in charge of our children, who are the future of our community, they're in charge of their planning, their education, materials, teachers. Anything that can affect a daily living in your direct community.
“People tend to turn out more during presidential elections, but during midterm elections, there's no more Electoral College. It's just your vote going directly for that individual.”
Who can Register?
- Residents must be at least age 18 to vote. Citizens can pre-register to vote as early as age16.
- Must be a U.S. citizen, and a legal resident of Florida and of the county in which you want to register.
- Not be adjudicated mentally incapacitated with respect to voting in Florida or any other state without having the right to vote restored.
- Not have been convicted of a felony without your voting rights having been restored.
- For college students: If your "home" address is in Florida, you can register to vote at your dorm address using a Florida Voter Registration Application. However, since dorm rooms can change from semester to semester, we recommend that you register to vote using your "home" address. If your "home" address is not in Florida, you can register to vote in either your home state or in Florida, but you cannot be registered in both locations.
How to Register:
Have handy your Florida driver’s license or Florida identification card issued by the Florida Department of Highway Safety & Motor Vehicles and the last four digits of your social security number.
- Online: Eligible Florida residents can safely register, or check voter registration status, online at registertovoteflorida.gov, or visit your county’s office of election supervisor's website.
- Mail: Eligible voters, uncomfortable with registering online, can fill out a Florida Voter Registration Application and mail it in to your county’s office of election supervisor's address.
- Thousands of national, state, and local organizations and volunteers will be holding events for National Registration Day 2022. Below are some events for Collier and Lee County.
Registration Events in Collier County:
Diplomats from the Collier County Supervisor of Elections office will host voter registration drives at the following locations:
- Library Headquarters – 2385 Orange Blossom Drive, Naples 34109
- Collier County Driver License office – 725 Airport-Pulling Road South, Naples 34104
- Naples Regional Library – 650 Central Avenue, Naples 34102
- Marco Island Library – 210 Heathwood Drive, Marco Island 34145
- Estates Library – 1266 Golden Gate Boulevard W, Naples 34120
- South Regional Library – 8065 Lely Cultural Parkway, Naples 34113
- Collier County Government Complex – 3311 Tamiami Trail E, Naples 34112
Residents can also register online or update their voter registration information at www.CollierVotes.gov. For a full list of scheduled voter registration drives in Collier county including dates and times, visit the Supervisor of Elections’ Activities & Events Calendar on their website.
Registration Events in Lee County:
- East County Regional Library – 881 Gunnery Road N, Leigh Acres, 33971
- Cape Coral Lee County Public Library – 921 SW 39th Terrace, Cape Coral, 33914
- North Fort Myers Regional Library – 2001 N. Tamiami Trail, North Fort Myers, 3903
- Lakes Regional Library – 15290 Bass Rd., Fort Myers, 33919
- Bonita Springs Public Library – 10560 Reynolds St., Bonita Springs, 34135
- Dunbar-Jupiter Hammon Public Library – 3095 Blount St., Fort Myers, 33916
Residents can also register online or update their voter registration information at www.lee.vote.
Important Election Dates
- Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022 General Election
- Saturday, Oct. 29 5pm Last day to request a mail-in ballot
- Monday, Oct. 24-Saturday, Nov. 5 Early Voting
- Tuesday, Oct. 11 Voter Registration deadline to vote in the November general election
- Thursday, Sept. 29 Domestic voter mail-in ballots sent out
- Saturday, Sept. 24 Mail-in ballots for overseas and military voters sent out
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