National Voter Registration Day is Tuesday, Sept. 25, and members of both major political parties are working to sign up new voters.
Richmond County Democrats will celebrate National Voter Registration Day on Tuesday by hosting a voter registration drive. The drive will take place at the Richmond County Democratic Party Election Headquarters, located in Richmond Plaza Shopping Center, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Voter registration assistance and candidate information will be available, and refreshments will be served.
This is the inaugural year for National Voter Registration Day. Its theme is simple: Register in September, make it count in November.
“Voting is a responsibility we have to each other as citizens and good neighbors. We want to make it easier for the people of Richmond County during this election period by helping them register to vote,” said Raymond Collins, a vice chair of the Richmond County Democratic Party.
“In this election, we want to make sure no one in Richmond County misses out,” said Pat Dial, treasurer of the organization.
In 2008, 6 million Americans told the U.S. Census that they did not vote because they did not know how to register or they missed their state’s voter registration deadline.
“Registering voters supports the principles of democracy and representation by ensuring the inclusion of all eligible citizens, regardless of race, gender or socioeconomic status,” said Jim Chandler, secretary of the county’s Democratic Party.
“Registering voters not only ensures all eligible citizens get to vote, but registration can also be used by election administrators to help determine the best locations for polling places and how many voting stations and poll workers might be needed at each station, ”Chandler said.
“’Voting is not only a right, but your chance to have your voice heard,” said Jane Layton, chairperson of the Richmond County Democratic Party.
“By electing officials who share your views, you help decide your own future. When you don’t vote, you give up your right to influence government. Without the right to vote, our government would no longer be a democracy,” Layton said.
Layton cited a few historical references to support the phrase: One vote can make a difference.
In 1875, France changed from a Monarchy to a Republic by 1 vote, she said. In 1990, Barbara Dobb defeated Debbie Schlussel in a Michigan State House primary election by just one vote.
For more information on the Democratic drive, contact Chandler at JIM27306@gmail.com or call party headquarters at 910-817-9704.
Meanwhile, the county’s Republican Party may not have any organized event planned to get new voters registered, but it has been signing up a few new voters downtown at its new headquarters.
“We have been and will gladly continue to register voters daily at our headquarters located at 130 E. Washington Street in Rockingham,” said Joshua T. Austin Sr., chairman of the Richmond County GOP.
“We, as should any organization, support ethical efforts to register voters … ,” Austin said. “… of course each party would love more voters registering with their particular party. We have had many people stop by our headquarters to update their voter information and some who are registering in Richmond County for the first time. Many have left our headquarters not being registered Republican and we still proudly and ethically turn their voter registration forms in to the Richmond County Board of Elections.”
Austin said it is an honor and tradition for all Americans to register and vote in governmental elections.
“We encourage all who would like to register and vote to do so by using any ethical means to do so. The Richmond County Republican Party has voter registration forms available any time the doors are open. Also, the Richmond County Board of Elections is a pressure free atmosphere for anyone wishing to register … and they would love for folks to stop by and register,” said Austin.
The county Board of Elections office is located at 221 S. Hancock St. in Rockingham.