Voter registration push as deadline draws near

Across the nation, advocates are making their final push to get people registered to vote in time for the upcoming November midterm election. The deadline in New York is this Friday, Oct. 12, for both online and in-person registration.

From Democrats, Republicans, progressives and conservatives, every angle of the political spectrum is scrambling to make sure eligible voters are registered to flood the polls. In the wake of the recent confirmation of now Supreme Court Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh, all sides are energizing their bases for victories in November.

One example is in an email sent out Wednesday by the New York Progressive Action Political Action Committee urging citizens with the message “Democracy is dying.”

“Our message to you today is simple and clear,” the email said. “Our democracy is in a state of peril. Any unregistered person who does not register to vote by Friday will be silenced by the powers that be Nov. 6.”

The NAACP unveiled a strategy to maximize the Black vote by targeting low and moderate propensity voters. The civil rights organization worked with GSSA, LLC, a Colorado data analytics group and partner in the initiative, to map out metrics for the Black community to have an impact on the elections and identify parity in registration and turnout of Black voters in battleground states.

“In order to become a potent political force, the Black community must build a political infrastructure that will vote in both presidential and non-presidential elections and at all levels of the ballot,” said NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson. “If all eligible members of the community rise to the challenge and vote, we control the fate and future of our community. Stated more directly, we must vote in far greater numbers because our lives, our very existence depends on it.”

The NAACP is also enlisting the support and partnership of members and of allied organizations, including the faith community, Pan-Hellenic organizations and issue-advocacy groups. So far, more than two dozen memoranda of understanding have been executed with partner organizations.

“In the current social, political and policy environment, change will only happen in our democracy through voting our interests and our conscience,” said Johnson. “The Black community can only improve its political and economic situation in America by becoming a potent political force.”

This week in the city, reminders were all around along city streets as LinkNYC kiosks flashed messages about registering to vote along with a countdown clock to Friday. Information was also flashed about the number of voters in particular districts.

However, even those who feel confident they are registered are being urged to double-check before the Oct. 12 deadline. The New York Civil Liberties Union reports that many showed up during the September primary only to find out their names were missing from voter rolls. Among those missing from the roll was Mayor Bill de Blasio’s own son, Dante.

“We suffer from confusing registration deadlines and outmoded poll books that cause errors, delays, and long lines,” the NYCLU said in statement. “To make matters worse, due to decades of partisan gerrymandering, New Yorkers cannot be sure they receive equal representation even when they cast their ballots.”

Voters are being urged to check their status by going to voterlookup.elections.ny.gov, where they can enter their name, date of birth, county and ZIP code. If no match is found or the voter’s status is not listed as active, the voter should contact the Board of Elections.

At the end of September on National Voter Registration Day, more than 800,000 eligible voters updated their registration or registering for the first time. The registration drive surpassed the previous record of 771,321 set during the 2016 presidential campaign.