The American public has been completely immersed in the 2016 presidential election ever since President Barack Obama was sworn into his second term. Whether it be listening to debates, taking sides in Twitter smack-downs or wondering if Ted Cruz is really the zodiac killer, this election has surrounded nearly every aspect of American life for what feels like an eternity. However, after sitting through all this nonsense, nothing would be worse than coming to the realization that you never registered to vote.
While college students are reminded to vote, they are rarely reminded to register to vote. This problem is not just limited to college students, as “6 million Americans didn’t vote [in the 2008 presidential election] because they missed a registration deadline or didn’t know how to register,” according to non-profit campaign National Voter Registration Day.
Founded just four years ago by Matt Singer, National Voter Registration Day has become quite popular on college campuses across the nation. Montclair State is no exception. On Tuesday, Sept. 27, Montclair State University celebrated the fourth annual National Voter Registration Day. During the one-day event, Montclair State students, staff and faculty had the opportunity to learn about the voter registration process as well as register to vote on site. If people were unable to register on campus due to their class schedule, Red Hawk News directed students to register online with TurboVote.
Montclair State has always encouraged students to be citizens who engage with democracy, and participating in events like National Voter Registration Day strengthens student’s commitment to the democratic process. These events are especially helpful for students whose parents are not American citizens. Registering to vote can be confusing at first glance, so it can be extremely helpful to have a peer to assist students as they navigate voter registration forms for the first time. Montclair State is working very hard to make voting more accessible to all eligible students, staff and faculty. After all, this election will greatly affect college students in the future.
Even though National Voter Registration Day is over, people can still sign up to vote. In New Jersey, the deadline to register to vote is Tuesday, Oct. 18. This deadline applies to all in-person and mailed registrations.
College students are among the least likely groups to vote and by not registering, students are causing this to continue to be the case. Hopefully, Montclair State will extend the celebration of National Voter Registration Day into a week-long event so that all students have the opportunity to register to vote between classes.
Montclair State students need to remember that the most important part of registering to vote is to actually go out and vote on Tuesday, Nov 8.