Protect Your Vote! Deadlines for Voter Registration Are Nearing in 7 Crucial Swing States
Continued from previous page
Unlike other swing states, registered voters who have moved within Colorado can submit a change of address form online up to Tuesday, October 30. After the 30, they have to show up at a county election office to change their address if they want to vote in the 2012 presidential election. The state’s website also has registration forms in Spanish.
Swing State No. 7: Nevada
Nevada has several different voter registration deadlines. For people mailing in forms, there is a 30-day deadline, which falls on Sunday, October 7; so that means they should mail it on Friday the 5 th. But a person may register in person at their county election office through Tuesday, October 16. County election offices are open for extended hours on these final days, with the largest county—Clark County, where Las Vegas is—open that weekend.
The state also offers voter registration and the ability to update a voter’s information online, but that option is tied to the state’s motor vehicle database, which means a person without a license has to print, fill out, sign and send in a paper application—or register in person. Also, for people registering to vote for the first time or who are updating their addresses, the motor vehicle agency website tells would-be voters not to drop off these forms there, because they might not get to election offic in time. So don’t even try the DMV.
Election Day Registration: New Hampshire, Iowa and Wisconsin
After reading the variations and fine-print of registration in the other swing states, one wonders why more states do not offer Election Day registration—like these three states.
The answer lies in voter registration being a state’s right, where political traditions and partisan factors converge. Indeed, the GOP proponents of more restrictive voter ID in Wisconsin have been railing against Election Day registration. Fortunately they haven’t gotten very far. And that state’s Government Accountability Board, which oversees its elections and is composed of retired judges, recently decided to accept identifying information in electronic form from eligible voters—from cell phones, laptops and other portable devices—for the November election. That will make it easier for students and younger people to vote.
Similarly, this week in New Hampshire, a lower court judge ruled that students attending colleges and universities in the state qualified as residents for voting this November, although the state Republican Party quickly appealed to a higher court.
Despite all these variations in state voter registration laws, the bottom line is that in the U.S., registering to vote is the starting line for participation in our political process. All the partisan shenanigans—from voter suppression laws to contesting ballots—can only be effective in low-turn out elections or contests where the margins are very close, because they chisel away votes in small increments.
So if you, or your family, or friends live in a 2012 swing state, don’t delay—register to vote sooner rather than later, and then take the steps to have the ID that’s needed to cast a ballot in November.