WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced a resolution recognizing September 26, 2017, as National Voter Registration Day. The resolution encourages each eligible citizen to register to vote; verify with the appropriate state or local election official that the name, address, and other personal information on record is current; and to go to the polls on election day.
“In the United States, voting is a right, not a privilege for all Americans. We need to make sure that every eligible American has the opportunity to exercise that right unfettered. It all starts with registering to vote,” said Cardin. “On this annual Voter Registration Day, each of us should confirm our own voter registration and encourage a new voter to register. Today and throughout the year, we will remain vigilant to efforts to deny or infringe upon the rights of all Americans to vote.”
“We need to make sure all those eligible to vote can make their voices heard,” said Klobuchar. “The right to vote is the foundation of our democracy and we should be doing all we can to strengthen that right. That’s why I am encouraging people to register today and will continue fighting to pass legislation that makes it easier to vote.”
Throughout their time in the Senate, Cardin and Klobuchar have been fighting to protect voting rights for all Americans.
A long-time champion of National Voter Registration Day, Senator Cardin is the author of the “Democracy Restoration Act” that would strengthen American communities by restoring voting rights to individuals after they have returned to their communities after being released from incarceration. He also has led the effort to protect voters through the “Deceptive Practices and Voter Intimidation Prevention Act” that aimed to toughen criminal and civil penalties for those who create and distribute this type of false and deceptive literature.
In June, Klobuchar and Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced the Automatic Voter Registration Act of 2017, which would require states to automatically register eligible voters when they interact with certain state and federal agencies, unless those people decline. The legislation would streamline the voter registration process and allow citizens to register online, making it easier for people who move to update their information and be able to exercise their right to vote. It also includes important privacy protections, and makes it clear that the information used to automatically register voters will remain secure.
The full text of the resolution is available below:
Whereas the right to vote is a fundamental right that—
(1) is guaranteed to the people of the United States; and
(2) constitutes the core of the democracy of the United States;
Whereas countless people of the United States have struggled to obtain and protect the right to vote;
Whereas each eligible United States citizen who would like to vote should be able to do so without encountering unnecessary barriers to the ballot box;
Whereas eligible United States citizens who are 18 years of age or older have the legal rights—
(1) to register to vote; and
(2) to vote;
Whereas the Bureau of the Census estimates that over 20 percent of eligible United States citizens are not registered to vote;
Whereas many United States citizens are not aware that they must register to vote before they may cast a ballot;
Whereas, because United States citizens must register in order to vote, many political campaigns, nonprofit organizations, religious organizations, and other groups conduct voter registration drives;
Whereas despite the efforts to register United States citizens to vote, the Pew Charitable Trusts have found that more than 60 percent of adult United States citizens have never been asked to register to vote;
Whereas, while some States allow same-day voter registration, many other States require registration as many as 30 days before the date of the election in which a person seeks to vote;
Whereas if a voter has changed names, moved, or not voted in recent elections, the voter registration of the voter must be updated;
Whereas 1 of 9 United States citizens moves each year, rendering outdated the former voter registration of the individuals who have moved;
Whereas updating voter registration ensures an easier experience at the polls on election day;
Whereas increased voter registration may lead to a higher participation rate in elections, which would strengthen the democracy of the United States; and
Whereas the many organizations and individuals who encourage voter registration and civic participation have promoted National Voter Registration Day on the fourth Tuesday of each September, which in 2017 falls on Tuesday, September 26: Now, therefore, be it
Resolved, That the Senate—
(1) recognizes September 26, 2017, as ‘‘National Voter Registration Day’’; and
(2) encourages each voting-eligible citizen of the United States—
(A) to register to vote;
(B) to verify with the appropriate State or local election official that the name, address, and other personal information on record is current; and
(C) to go to the polls on election day and vote if the voting-eligible citizen would like to do so.