Encouraging Voter Registration And Participation
A Guest Column by State Senator Frank LaRose
September 21, 2015
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Tuesday September 22, 2015 marks National Voter Registration Day. In 2008, six million Americans did not vote because they missed the registration deadline or were not familiar with the process of registering to vote. In 2015, we want to ensure that every citizen is able to register and make use of their right to vote. That is why on this day each year volunteers, celebrities, and organizations from across the United States will "hit the streets" for National Voter Registration Day.

The purpose of this day is to coordinate field, technology, and media efforts to create a lasting awareness of voter registration opportunities that allows previously unregistered voters to be reached. A network of a thousand organizations operating on the ground and through social media will register tens of thousands of voters and tens of thousands more online while receiving pledges to vote from those already registered.

Millions of voters need to register and re-register each year and this awareness campaign utilizes new technology to inform more Americans about the voter registration process than ever before.

I have introduced legislation in the Ohio Senate to further these goals by designating the fourth Tuesday in September as "Voter Registration Awareness Day."

A group of community leaders brought this proposal to my attention as a way to encourage voter participation across Ohio. This legislation builds on that concept and emphasizes to all Ohioans the importance of registering to vote. This legislation ensures that Ohio recognizes Voter Registration Awareness Day on the same day established by the National Association of Secretaries of State as National Voter Registration Day. 

Senate Bill 169 affirms Ohio's commitment to encouraging voter registration and increasing the ease of access to elections. This effort serves as a complement to Senate Bill 63, a bill I introduced earlier this year to establish online voter registration in Ohio. Senate Bill 63 passed the Ohio Senate with near unanimous support and is awaiting a hearing in the Ohio House of Representatives. By commemorating Voter Registration Awareness Day, we are not only encouraging Ohioans to exercise their right to vote, but to play a pivotal role in the democratic process.

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