The Voter Registration Deadline May Leave You Out Of Luck
With the final presidential debate on Wednesday night, the November 8 election feels as if it is just around the corner — and it is. Unfortunately, as October comes to a close, that means that the voter registration dates in many states have already passed. However, not all states require residents to register months and or weeks in advance. In fact, if you live in one of 14 states, or Washington D.C., it's still not too late to register to vote. Yup, if you live in Utah, North Carolina, Alabama, Connecticut, Iowa, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Vermont, Washington, North Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois, or Nebraska there's still time to register to vote on November 8. And really, who wouldn't want to exercise their constitutional right to vote?
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 53.6 percent of eligible American voters cast a ballot in the 2016 election. That's a pretty low percentage of the population, especially when compared to voter turn-out rates in countries like Belgium where the Pew study noted 87.2 percent of eligible voters participated in the last election. However, some states are doing all they can to ensure as many voters as possible are able to vote on Election Day.
Mic reports that residents of Connecticut, Illinois, Maine, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Wyoming and Washington D.C. don't have to register before November 8. That's right, in these states (and Washington D.C.), voters can register at the polls on election day (and in North Dakota, no registration is required). Now that sounds like a way to ensure higher voter turn out.
Voter registration dates are complicated to begin with, but this year has been extra confusing for many voters. In many states, voter registration deadlines fell during Hurricane Matthew, therefore voters in Florida, North Carolina, Georgia, and Virginia have asked that registration deadlines be extended, according to U.S. News and World Report. However, Florida was the only state where the registration deadline was successfully extended.
Hurricane Matthew is not the only reason why the act of voting (and registering to vote) itself has become so controversial this year. Unsurprisingly, that's because recently GOP candidate Donald Trump has suggested that the election is rigged. Not only are Trump's allegations that there is rampant voter fraud in the United Staes completely wrong (The Washington Post reported that in the last 14 years, 1 billion ballots were cast in America, and there were only 31 instances of voter fraud), but according to the New York Times, the nominee's statements about voter fraud may keep voters from turning out at the polls on November 8.
From registration deadlines, to hurricanes, to the GOP nominee, voting this year may seem pretty complicated. However, if the registration in your state still hasn't passed, now is the time to register to vote, and exercise your right as an American. As President Obama famously said at the Democratic National Convention in July: "Don't boo, Vote!"