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Day dedicated to voter registration

Tuesday’s focus puts spotlight on participation

By The Mercury

We’ll guess you’re following the presidential race, though we’re less certain that it’s because you’re interested in it or because you can’t avoid it. We also hope you’re paying attention to statewide and local races. They matter in many ways.

And, of course, we hope you’re registered to vote and will make a point of casting a ballot in this fall’s election.

If you are not registered to vote, it so happens that a day has been designed with you in mind. It’s called National Voter Registration Day, and it’s tomorrow, Sept. 25. That it comes just six weeks before Election Day is no accident. We won’t suggest that National Voter Registration Day is as important as Election Day, but if you’re not registered to vote, you’ll be a spectator on Election Day.

National Voter Registration Day has almost 1,000 sponsors nationwide, including the League of Women Voters of Manhattan-Riley County. The League will be staffing tables at more than a dozen places around Manhattan to encourage and help residents to register to vote.

Those sites are the Douglass Center Annex, La Fiesta and Happy Valley restaurants in the Blue Hills Shopping Center, Hy-Vee, the KSU Student Union, the KSU School of Leadership, Manhattan Public Library, Manhattan Town Center, Ray’s Apple Market stores downtown and on the west side of town, the Riley County Seniors Service Center, Varney’s Bookstore, Varsity Donuts and Wal-Mart. Stopping at one of those places for a few minutes might be the most valuable errand you run all day.

It’s worth noting that people also can register at the Riley County Clerk’s office daily through Oct. 16. As of this morning, elections officer Jolene Keck said, 33,325 Riley Countians are registered to vote, and the number is rising.

It’ll likely rise further on Tuesday. National Voter Registration Day was established in part because of U.S. Census data indicating that in the 2008 presidential election, some 6 million Americans did not vote either because they didn’t know how to or missed their state’s registration deadline. In Kansas, that deadline is Oct. 16.

Now is also a good time for registered voters to make sure they know where they vote; sites change from time to time.

And whether you’re already registered, register on Tuesday or do so in time for the Nov. 6 election, make sure you take a photo ID with you. You can’t vote if you’re not registered, and you can’t vote without a photo ID.

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