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National Voter Registration Day Encourages Minorities to Vote

10/11/2017, noon | Updated on 10/11/2017, noon
Jeanette Senecal, senior director of elections for the League of Women Voters (LWV) said nearly a quarter of Americans are ...
The lower-level of the George W. Dunne Cook County Office building, located at 69 W. Washington, is one of many sites where people can participate in early-voting, which was recently encouraged at the sixth annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD). Photo Credit: Christopher Shuttlesworth

National Voter Registration Day Encourages Minorities to Vote

By Christopher Shuttlesworth

National organizations recently celebrated the sixth annual National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), which is a nationwide effort that encourages hundreds of thousands of eligible voters to register to vote.

Jeanette Senecal, senior director of elections for the League of Women Voters (LWV) said nearly a quarter of Americans are not registered to vote, including a high number of young adults, people of color and low-income individuals.

“Twenty-five percent of eligible voters are missing the opportunity to vote because they’re not registered to vote is really a big hurdle,” she said.

Senecal said LWV has affiliates in 50 states and 700 communities and reaches individuals who are most likely to be unregistered. They also work with people who didn’t have an opportunity to register during voter registration drives.

“The whole point of National Registration Day is to create more energy around registering and voting and making it a celebratory activity,” she said. “Also, this Day continues to bring in corporations, celebrities and nonprofits together.”

Senecal said due to National Voter Registration Day’s efforts, 1.4 million people have

registered around the country.

LWV focuses on helping high school students, specifically African Americans in low-income communities, prepare to register to vote because they currently have a low voter registration rate.

“We’re really trying to get in those communities to make sure the students are getting registered to vote and increasing their registration activities,” Senecal said. “Just a tiny increase can have a major impact for any group. Ten high school students who turn out to vote could make a difference.”

She continued to explain that people don’t realize how votes towards local races continue to impact their daily lives.

“People don’t connect voting to how much money is going into building playgrounds or public libraries’ activity,” she said. “Small things that impact people on a daily basis are really impacted by who they elect into office and until we have people of the general population turning out to vote, then we’re never going to have elected officials

who represent the need of our great country.”

Voters nationwide can find out if they have elections, their states’ voter registration deadlines, and information about who is on the ballot in their area at VOTE411.org.