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Sun, Dec. 08

Letter | Michele Reagan and Diane E. Brown: National Voter Registration Day is coming

A lot has happened in the last year.

Although it may seem hard to imagine, at this time last year the 2016 election was in full swing; the Chicago Cubs were still “loveable losers”; and clowns were still more funny than scary.

While we recognize that National Voter Registration Day didn’t crack into the top 10 stories of 2016 nor is it likely to make this year’s list, that’s OK. The ongoing work of the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State and the Arizona PIRG Education Fund to increase voting in our state isn’t focused on headlines but is centered on results.

That said; National Voter Registration Day is a good opportunity to remind eligible Arizonans to go to www.Arizona.Vote to either register to vote or to ensure your voter registration is up-to-date. National Voter Registration Day is also a good time to take stock of the non-partisan technological advancements that have and are being made to increase not only voter registration, but also voter education and voter turnout in our state.

Increasing voter registration

Each of us, representatives of our offices and countless others have traveled our state on multiple occasions to increase voter registration. Even though we both enjoy directly registering voters, we recognize costs can be saved and errors reduced when citizens register to vote or update voter registration online. We encourage you to take a minute and go to www.Arizona.Vote now – no better time than the present to make sure you are ready for the next election.

Increasing voter education

In this age of digital saturation, we find that many Arizonans are often searching for “indisputable” facts. The good news is when it comes to voter information – such as registration deadlines, early ballots and polling locations – irrefutable resources with links to the County Recorders Offices exist at www.Arizona.Vote. The even better news for Arizonans is that the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State continues to innovate in an accessible online format. In the last year, Arizonans have been able to find information on candidates, ballot propositions, and campaign income and expenditures and can also now view historical data and trends by political party and county.

Increasing voter turnout. As we all know, being registered to vote is only the first step. To make our choices count, we need to vote. And what better way to increase voter turnout than by improving the youth vote since voting is often a lifelong habit. To help kick-off National Voter Registration Day and related activities last year, the Office of the Arizona Secretary of State, the Arizona Board of Regents and the Arizona PIRG Education Fund brought together student leaders from our state’s universities to discuss increasing the youth vote. Under the leadership of the Arizona Secretary of State, the Millennial Advisory Board was formed and expanded to include student leaders from community colleges. While efforts to increase the youth vote pose unique opportunities and challenges, ideas generated by the Millennial Advisory Board reinforce the overall technological direction in which the Office of the Secretary of State is headed – a trend that can be useful to complement traditional face-to-face outreach.

With National Voter Registration Day around the corner, it is important to recognize that a lot has happened in the last year to increase voter registration, education and turnout in our state. Voter registration may not typically be the hot topic in the Starbucks line or at your dinner table but on September 26 please join us and remind eligible Arizonans to register to vote and habitual voters to ensure up-to-date voter registration at, you guessed it, www.Arizona.Vote.

Michele Reagan is Arizona’s Secretary of State. Diane E. Brown is the Executive Director of the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

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