Local news, Student interest

It’s National Voter Registration Day — so do it

from: theincline.com

Thanks to online registration, you don’t actually have to leave the couch.

Students wait to vote in November 2016 at CMU.
Voter Registration Day.

So if you’re not registered to vote, or need to change your address, go ahead and do it today. Why not today? You’re that busy? Busier than Michelle Obama? Hmm.

The easiest way to register or change info including your address is to do so online. You can also print a voter application and mail it to your county board of elections. Yes, you will need a stamp.

You must do this by Oct. 9. There is no same-day registration in Pennsylvania. I repeat: If you miss that Oct. 9 deadline, that’s it — no voting for you on Nov. 6.

If you’re feeling very smug at the moment, make sure to check your voter status (and, frankly, yourself).

If you need some assistance, you can easily find it today — including at a barber shop.

Graham’s Barber Shop in Lawrenceville will host an event dubbed Get Registered N’at. Owner Ryan Graham said 80 to 100 people walk through his doors each day, and he’s sure at least some of them are unsure about their voter status. Up until recently, that included him.

“A lot of people may not know if they’re registered and don’t want to sound stupid asking or admit they haven’t voted before, and so they won’t even ask,” Graham said, adding, “This was true for me personally.”

Graham said he got the idea for the event from his sister, Danielle Graham Robinson, a community leader in Brighton Heights who will be leading the registration drive inside his shop. Graham Robinson said her motives are not apolitical but that the process she administers will be.

“I’ve seen in the Pittsburgh area that when voter turnout increases we tend to see folks voting Democrat and personally that’s my motivation, even though our effort tomorrow will be non-partisan and apolitical,” she told The Incline on Monday.

Graham Robinson said she took a mini training from the organizers of National Voter Registration Day and will have paper registration forms as well as hardcopy absentee ballot signup forms on hand. She will personally deliver paperwork to the Board of Elections, if the person feels comfortable with that.

She’ll also have information about how to register online.

Graham Robinson said the event is an opportunity to engage with and meet people where they are and to remove some of the traditional hurdles to voter registration.

“I had a woman who said she was an Independent and that she wanted to vote in the primaries and I said, ‘Well, you can’t in Pennsylvania.’ And people feel embarrassed to ask these kinds of questions if they don’t know the answers or they feel stupid,” she said. “We’re trying to kill the stigma of people feeling insecure about not knowing all the ins and outs.”

Representatives from the League of Women Voters will also be at more than 20 Allegheny County Library Association branches to help people register.

Check the map for specific times.

Below are some of the events being promoted by National Voter Registration Day. Find more info here.

  • Your Vote Matters Registration Drive — 11 a.m. Sep. 25; Market Square, 24 Market Square Get details & RSVP
  • Get Registered N’at — 2 p.m. Sept. 25; Graham’s Barber Shop, 3816 Butler St. Get details & RSVP
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