‘Democracy doesn’t work unless everybody participates’
To create some buzz for democracy, the League of Women Voters of Sussex County will help register people to vote on Tuesday, Sept. 24, at Delaware Technical Community College in Georgetown.
The on-site voter registration and information tables are part of National Voter Registration Day, a movement that started in 2012 “when the entire nation focuses on registering Americans to exercise their most basic right — the right to vote,” stated League representatives.
League volunteers will register Delaware-resident students, faculty, employees and visitors at two locations on the campus: the cafeteria from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and the book store from 4 to 6 p.m.
“The League of Women Voters does not support or oppose any political party or candidate for public office,” said LWVSC President Gwendolyn Miller. “Our aim is to get everyone out to vote, regardless of party affiliation, and we’re spreading the word that anyone with access to the internet can easily register online.”
The start of the school year is ideal for those who have recently moved to a new house or never registered before, she noted. The LWV often hosts voter registration tables at schools and public events.
“You can register when you get your driver license, but some people don’t, or don’t think of it,” said LWV organizer Martha Redmond. “Have you moved, or did you change your name? You can update information online, too,” Redmond said.
Teens can even register before reaching legal voting age.
“We can register them before they’re 18, as long as they’re going to be 18 by the election,” Redmond said.
Registration is free and simple. Organizers simply ask if a person lives in Delaware; is a U.S. citizen; and will be18 or older by Election Day. Participants should either bring a state-issued ID or know the last four digits of their Social Security number. Afterward, they can expect a voter registration card to arrive in the mail that will document their local, personal voting districts.
The one-time registration is required for Delawareans to cast ballots in county, state and U.S. elections. It does not cover municipal elections (some of which require separate registration at the town hall). School board elections do not require any pre-registration.
Delawareans can also use the website at https://ivote.de.gov to register or to change their name, address or party affiliation.
Even if somebody doesn’t feel ready to vote or isn’t interested in politics, “We say [it’s] better to be registered and be prepared to vote, than want to vote and not be able to,” Redmond said. “Democracy doesn’t work unless everybody participates,” she said.
The State of Delaware recently made access to voting easier by allowing early voting. So Sussex Countians could vote as much as 10 days early in Georgetown, if that’s easier.
“It removes a barrier” for those whose work, transportation or school requirements prohibit them from attending the traditional polling place on Election Day Tuesday.
During elections, people don’t even have to vote in all the races. But it’s easy to research candidates a little, thanks to the League’s nonpartisan voters’ guide, which provides candidate questionnaires, voting procedures, polling locations, sample ballots and absentee ballot information, and more. Visit http://www.vote411.org/ for more information.
“It’s always better to educate yourself and be prepared. It’s a step, just like going into college is a step of growing up. … It’s better to be prepared and registered so that you can” vote when ready.
By Laura Walter