Talk of the Town: Registering to vote is about democracy
For close to a decade, National Voter Registration Day and the week following has been widely lauded as a non-partisan way to celebrate our democracy. Elected officials, businesses, nonprofit organizations, celebrities, and citizens have conducted events and taken to social media to urge voter registration and participation.
This year, National Voter Registration Day is Sept. 28, kicking off a week of local officials pushing Verde Valley citizens to register to vote. We once again join with entities in our state from elections offices to community organizations to urge eligible Arizonans to take the first step to engaging in our democracy by registering to vote.
Whether you need to register to vote for the first time or need to update your registration due to a recent move or name change, Arizona.Vote is our state’s one-stop, user-friendly, and secure website.
Election officials estimate there are more than a million eligible but unregistered Arizonans. This week, we can make sure Arizonans don’t find themselves unable to vote because they missed a registration deadline, didn’t know how to update their registration, or aren’t sure how to register. Regardless of background or political beliefs, for democracy to work for all of us, it must include us all. And if 2021 has taught us anything, it is that we cannot take our democracy for granted.
In other words, this week is more than increasing the number of new voter registrations, it is about Arizonans, and Americans, celebrating the freedom, rights, and opportunities we share as participants in our country’s democracy. And to us, it is also about recognizing and appreciating the hard-working elections officials – our friends and neighbors - that bring professionalism and integrity day-in and day-out to keep our election infrastructure intact.
While registering to vote is the first step to engaging in our democracy, exercising the right to vote is the necessary next step and is fundamental to keeping our democracy strong. National Voter Registration Day is also a reminder that the more eligible citizens vote, the more elected leaders will pay attention to their constituents and make the promise of our democracy real for us all. If we want our local, state, and national leaders held accountable for decisions on issues such as education, health care, and transportation, then it is up to us to register and vote in large numbers and build a democracy that works best for its citizens.
Katie Hobbs is the secretary of state and the chief elections officer in Arizona. Reach her at email@example.com. Diane E. Brown is the executive director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, a non-partisan organization that protects consumers and promotes civic participation.