It’s the Year of the Woman: Register Today To Vote

Voter’s Literacy Test, 1878

It’s the year of the woman and you’d better be signed up to vote for her.

It’s been quite a roller-coaster ride since the Republican National Committee chose Mitt Romney as “most likely to succeed” President Barack Obama. Clearly, from the day President Obama took his oath of office in 2009, the right wing has been dead set on blocking all Democrat-sponsored legislation, as evidenced by the dramatically increased use of filibusters to block congressional voting.

One might assume that the constant undermining of the President by Republicans pining to recapture the White House would result in a breezy success story for the Romney campaign. It seems, however, that despite high expectations, the public has not fallen in love with the former Governor. His popularity has been dropping in recent weeks – caused, to a degree, by some inelegant candid statements captured on video and leaked to the press.

Desperate for a win, the GOP has resorted to disenfranchising whole segments of the population by reintroducing a modernized version of the post-Civil War Jim Crow era. Numerous Republican-controlled states have passed legislation that would discourage African Americans, Latinos, the elderly, the poor, and students from voting. Under the guise of “anti-fraud” regulations—though studies have shown voting fraud is almost non-existent—33 states now require one or more forms of picture identification to cast a ballot, even though many will find acquiring the necessary documentation to be difficult or impossible.

Although the Department of Justice is currently reviewing these restrictive measures state-by-state, time is growing short. The presidential election of 2012 is now only 43 days away. Meanwhile, grass-roots organizations are springing up to register voters, using social media venues like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to reach as many people as possible.

Today, September 25, is National Voter Registration Day and registering to vote will be as simple as going to a web site. There will be events at local libraries and schools nationwide. Just hit the “events” tab on the navigation bar, type in your zip code, and you will be pointed in the right direction. (Be sure to check the hours for each venue, as they may vary.)

For voter registration questions or to report problems (if any) there’s a toll-free number to call and contact information available in both English and Spanish. You’ll also find excellent information on requirements and deadlines for each state available from the New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice. Simply find your state on the interactive map of the U S. and with a click, you’ll discover everything needed to cast your vote on November 6. While the site indicates it’s for students, anyone seeking detailed guidelines to state regulations or other updated election-related news will find this to be a useful resource.

And finally, check out Cuéntame. Geared to a young Latino audience, it’s enlightening, fact-filled, and entertains while delivering an inspiring message. You’ll register and then run to the voting booth on Election Day. Guaranteed.

video by Cuéntame

Helen Bartley

Helen Bartley is a writer, multi-media artist and graphic designer. Her work is focused on all aspects of culture that includes – but is not limited to – politics, film, art, and advertising, frequently using visuals and music as vehicles in her story-telling. Her diverse experiences (NYC taxi driver, stand-up comic, advertising executive, Creative Director for promotions at The New Yorker magazine) often serve as a source of inspiration. Her work has been widely seen and published.