Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day – Are you registered? The Hillsborough County Supervisor of Elections, Craig Latimer, says even if you are, today is also a day to encourage others to register.
“National Voter Registration Day is actually a national holiday that’s been celebrated since 2012. And, it’s basically a reminder to people that they need to register to be able to vote and participate in upcoming elections. In Florida here, you have to be registered 29 days before elections to participate in it. People get busy. They forget about it. So, this is your annual reminder to get out and get registered.
“And it’s a simple process. As you know in Florida, we have online voter registration. You can go to my website at votehillsborough.org, and you can register right online.”
SK: And, if you live outside of Hillsborough?
“Go to your Supervisor of Election of your county’s website, and they will have a link there to be able to register online.”
SK: Is there a State of Florida clearinghouse for voter registrations online?
“There is. It’s actually the system is run through the Secretary of State’s office, Division of Election. And, it’s all centralized there. By Federal law, each state must have a state, like we do, the Florida Voter Registration system.”
SK: You run elections, whether or not people register or vote. Why is it important to you that more people register?
“You know, this is a democracy. This is our democracy. And, this is how we’re ruled. And, people have the opportunity to have their voice heard at the voting box. So, it’s important.
“I tell people, all the time, too, it’s important: local races, the school board, the County Commission. These are taxing authorities. These are people that are directly impacting your wallet. And, you should certainly make informed choices in that. But you do have a voice in these elections.”
SK: The minimum age to vote is 18. But people can pre-register before that, right?
“That is correct. Matter of fact, we are in the high schools in Hillsborough County at least twice a year, And, we pre-register 16- and 17-year-olds. And then, when they turn 18, they’re ready to go. We send them a voter information card. We’ve been to 4 schools so far this school year. We’ve already registered over 500 students.”
SK: Is there anything else that people should know about voter registration day?
“It’s a good reminder to get out and register if you’re not registered. And share it on social media. You know, challenge your friends, your family. You know, “I’m registered, are you? I’m ready to go or you?”
On Facebook today, Congress member Kathy Castor wrote, “I am honored to introduce the resolution in the U.S. House that designates September 24th as National Voter Registration Day to reaffirm our commitment to bedrock democratic values. A strong democracy and exercising one’s fundamental right to vote should not be a partisan issue.”