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Remember to register to vote or remain silent

We’ve written about it before, and we’ll write about it again: the importance of voting. It’s a critical component of our democracy, and come Tuesday, Sept. 24, would-be voters can register during National Voter Registration Day.

It’s actually a holiday endorsed  by the National Association of Secretaries of State, supported by the National Association of State Election Directors, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission and the National Association of Election Officials. It’s not a partisan day. 

The holiday was originally observed in 2012, and is always held on the fourth Thursday of September, in preparation for Election Day, which this year falls on Tuesday, Nov. 5.

It’s an attempt to get the millions of people who miss out on voting because they haven’t registered, on the books. In our region, a number of local libraries are hosting the day, and elsewhere volunteers hit the streets in a coordinated effort, offering guidance on how to register — the all important first step before citizens can cast their ballots in November. And as we all know, voting is the best way to make our voices heard in our complex and often frustrating political landscape. That’s why this registration drive is so essential.

According to www.nationalvoterregistrationday.org, it’s simple: “Volunteers in their community or workplace, at schools or public events, or anywhere can register people to vote.”

What an amazing opportunity! Thanks to technology, those interested can also be registered online at these voter registration events.

Last year, 800,000 Americans registered to vote on National Voter Registration Day, in all 50 states. Helping in those efforts were the more than 10,000 local volunteers who mobilized to get voters registered.

Heralded as a day of civic unity, National Voter Registration Day is a shining example of what makes this country so wonderful. We, the people of the United States, have the right to vote for our elected officials. That’s not a given in all countries — and it’s a right for which our forefathers fought long and hard. 

Don’t waste that precious privilege. Register to vote. If you haven’t registered yet, please, take advantage of National Voter Registration Day — that’s why it was established — it couldn’t be any simpler. 

The act of casting one’s ballot is at the very core of our democracy. Don’t like who is in office? Vote him or her out. Really like who is in office? Vote him or her in for another term. Voting is our way of showing approval or disapproval of local, state and national officials. It’s the way we, as American citizens, can influence government — no small  feat. Always, it’s a crucial component to making sure the law of the land is fair, just and representative of the people. Our vote needs to be respected and protected. Without voting there is no democracy; without voting there is no freedom.

For more on Voter Registration Day, read Carol Kneeland’s article on this week’s front page.