Looking Ahead: National Voter Registration Day

This year, elections will be held across the United States on November 8. It’s a good idea for American college instructors (and some secondary teachers) to help eligible students learn how to participate.

One way to do that: Observe the tenth annual National Voter Registration Day in class on September 20. This nonpartisan event, endorsed by a wide array of civic and professional organizations, provides a convenient excuse to explain the concept of voter registration, point students toward appropriate resources, and encourage them to plan ahead.

To make sure I won’t miss the day, I’m already setting up course announcements already in my various LMSes. They’re scheduled to go live automatically on the morning of September 20. I’m using variations on this template, adding appropriate links to specific webpages:

This year, [State] is holding elections on November 8. Although 2022 is not a presidential election year, the stakes are still high for [State] residents. All of [State]’s members of Congress are being chosen. So are many state and other local officials, depending on where you live. If you’re a U.S. citizen who will be eligible to vote that day, you want to make sure your voice will be heard! That means making sure you’re registered to vote.

Today, September 20, is National Voter Registration Day—a day to check on your registration status, register to vote if you haven’t already done it, and encourage other people to register to vote as well.

Even if you have registered before, it’s a good idea to make sure your registration is still current. (If you have moved or changed your name, or if you simply haven’t voted in a while, your registration may need to be updated.) And if you will be eligible to vote for the first time—for example, if you have recently turned 18 or attained U.S. citizenship—you definitely want to register now to avoid missing your chance to participate this year!

[State] has a convenient website for all your election needs: [URL]. If you live in [State], you can use this website to check on your voter registration status, learn about voting as a college student, apply for a mail-in ballot instead of voting in person, and—of course—register to vote if you aren’t already registered or if you need to update your registration. The website can also answer your questions about whether you’re eligible to vote.

(If you’re not a [State] resident, you can use the National Voter Registration Day website to find out how to register in your own state for any elections that may be happening there this year.)

The deadline to register to vote in [State] if you want to participate in this year’s election is [date]. But don’t wait! Act today to make sure you won’t be left out. 

Of course, I’ll pair this announcement with appropriate instruction in class on September 20, as well as with ongoing reminders as various deadlines approach.