Don’t miss voter registration deadline!
Voters must take initiative in general election participation
Election Day is right around the corner on Nov. 4, but the deadline for voter registration is actually tomorrow, Oct. 14. If you’re not registered by then, you can’t vote.
Presidential elections come around every four years and bring more publicity with them than every other election combined. It’s easier to understand and follow, it’s easier to remember to register and participate, and it’s usually easier to choose a candidate. The media frenzy around presidential elections makes it impossible to forget about, and the importance of voter participation is always heavily emphasized. But presidential elections are only one part of the democratic political process in this country. We vote every year in other general and special elections for the senators, congressmen and congresswomen who represent us on Capitol Hill. These are the elections that are possibly the most important because it’s the change that we push for on a local level through these representatives that can have an impact on the president’s decisions on a national and global scale.
If you’re a commuter, make sure you’re registered to vote in your hometown. But if you live on campus or in New Brunswick, it’s important to remember that Election Day is on a Tuesday, and you’re probably going to be on campus — so you need to be registered to vote here in New Brunswick, too. Voter registration forms can be downloaded online and dropped off at the Eagleton Institute of Politics, located on Ryders Lane on Cook campus, by 12 p.m. on Oct. 14. It can also be mailed to the Board of elections as long as it is postmarked by Oct. 14.New Jersey is one of 35 states that still do not have an online option for voter registration. As annoying as that is, we’re just going to have to deal with it for now. There are obviously a lot of logistical and technical issues that go along with setting up online registration to preserve the integrity of the voting process, but we hope that’s a priority for the state government (and hey, these are the kinds of changes — no matter how small they might seem — that you can write to your local government officials about once you’ve voted them in).
Our generation is generally known for being passive, but times like Election Day give us the opportunity to disprove that stereotype. You can’t complain about the state of our political system or about Obama or about the inactivity of our current Congress without taking part in the voting process at all. It’s our responsibility to be participatory citizens and exercise our rights to vote.
Everyone probably remembers how annoying it was the last time elections came around. Persistent canvassers, who practically shoved voter registration applications down our throats, forcing us to lie about having registered already, followed us around. Well, we kind of miss having them around this semester — they’re noticeably fewer in numbers, and we’re noticeably less aware of the upcoming elections. Organizations such as NJPIRG will be tabling today and tomorrow, so keep an eye out for those registration opportunities — all you need to do it fill out the form with your information, and they’ll drop it off at the appropriate locations for you.
For more information about voter registration or to learn more about the elections in general, visit the New Jersey Department of State’s website. Be sure to ask your professors about elections and voting, too. It’s an important topic of conversation that we’re sure they would be happy to discuss, and we should take advantage of these opportunities to become more educated, informed and active citizens.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the Eagleton Institute of Politics is accepting voter registration forms hand-delivered before 5 p.m. on Oct. 14 or postmarked to Eagleton by Oct. 14.