The best way to celebrate democracy is by encouraging full participation in public life. That’s why Sequachee Valley Electric Cooperative, the Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association and Tennessee’s other 22 distribution co-ops are supporting National Voter Registration Day on September 22, 2020.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, less than 70% of eligible American citizens of voting age––18 and over––were registered to vote in 2018. That means that up to 30% have not filed the required applications with their counties, parishes or states of local voter registrar’s offices, which are essential
for making our voices as meaningful in American life as they might be.
We’re among thousands of organizations committed to making September 22 the most successful National Voter Registration Day in history, because we believe its goals are more important than ever before. Here’s why:
Unusual year, unexpected changes
While 2020 began as a very active political year, disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic concerns altered the campaign plans of many candidates. They also dramatically reduced overall access to voter registration forms through department of motor vehicle offices, public libraries and schools.
Suspension of on-site classes at many high schools prevented guidance counselors and government teachers from passing out registration applications to students who reached voting age this spring and summer.
Voter education efforts by churches, or by state and local officials who normally would have booked space at community events to encourage community outreach found many of those events
scaled back or canceled throughout spring and summer.
Lingering concerns about a resurgence of COVID-19 cases this autumn continue to fuel uncertainties on exactly how polling locations will operate or just how states and other jurisdictions will handle absentee
and mail-in balloting.
The challenge ahead
Increasing overall participation in the election process begins with registering as many eligible voters as possible. That’s the goal of National Voter Registration Day. Recognized as a civic holiday since 2012, the annual event has served as a rallying point for voter registration initiatives supported by a network of nonpartisan organizations committed to increasing overall participation in the electoral process.
Voting is central to American democracy. That’s why many electric cooperatives and their statewide associations are committed to making this year’s National Voter Registration Day the most successful event ever.
Many electric co-ops are using their social media pages to promote voter registration, and encouraging political engagement with articles in their newsletters, on their websites and with bill attachments or point of contact brochures and leaflets.
National Voter Registration Day is a great opportunity for us all to begin focusing on the most important aspects of this political season. This nonpartisan program promotes participation, and that includes ensuring that those who are registered to vote stay abreast of any changes that we might see in how to legally cast ballots in our state on Election Day.
Remember to mark your calendar for National Voter Registration Day on September 22, and together,
let’s enjoy the rights and opportunities we all share as Americans and celebrate our democracy. To learn more about National Voter Registration Day, visit nationalvoterregistrationday.org.