The media frenzy has been growing about the midterm elections with only five weeks left before voters cast their ballots.
Despite the enthusiasm from every end of the political spectrum, voters must make sure that they are not only informed, but engaged and registered to vote.
People who have never voted, those who may have moved or reached age 18 since the last election need to make sure they are registered to vote. To get registered, an applicant should locate the Secretary of State for their primary state of residence. Each state’s voter registration function is usually handled through that office.
Major races will determine new Congressional representatives, governors, and state and local officials for the next two, four, or in some cases, six years. There are several contentious issues at play nationally, including a possible repeal of the health care law, economic recovery, issues in the Middle East, and government spending at home.
As far as voter registration in the African-American community, voter turnout tends to be lower during midterm and off-year elections. In contrast, during the 2008 presidential election of Barack Obama, African-American voter registration and turnout was higher than average. Still, at this time in 2008 with just weeks before the presidential election, it was estimated that eight million African-Americans were not registered to vote.
In response, the Democratic National Committee launched its own effort this year called ‘Vote 2010’ to get new people engaged and voters from 2008 back at the polls. Historically, a majority of African-Americans have supported the Democratic Party so outreach efforts to the community were a given. The effort is broad, though, with the party targeting Latinos and the youth vote.
Unregistered voters do not have much time left to submit their registration forms. In many states, voters must be registered or have registrations submitted to the secretary of state at least 30 days prior to an election. The general election will be held on November 2, with deadlines in the first week of October to turn in voter registration forms.