ORLANDO, Fla. — Are you registered to vote? It’s a question you’re likely to hear Tuesday as National Voter Registration Day gets underway. The organized effort leads many non-partisan groups to mobilize online and in person to make sure people are ready to cast their ballots.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19 at 10:30 a.m., the NALEO Educational Fund will host a press conference in coordination with election officials from across Central Florida. The organization says the event will also feature leaders from varying religious and racial backgrounds, and the goal is to ensure everyone who is eligible to vote is registered to vote.
“We’re all coming together to say that as Americans, we’re so proud — it’s an honor to be able to vote — and we don’t take that lightly,” said Jackie Colon, NALEO Educational Fund Southeast director of Civic Engagement.
Also happening in Central Florida, organizers will set up at Carl S. Swisher Library at Bethune Cookman University from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. Organizers say there will be food, a petting zoo, and free T-shirts for the first 60 people who register to vote.
Meanwhile, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a few bills into law that could alter voter registration efforts. Senate Bill 7050 requires third-party voter registration organizations to re-register for every single election cycle and prohibit pre-filled information on registration applications.
It also penalizes organizations that have volunteers who are not citizens working to register people to vote. Opponents of the measure say people who are not citizens want to participate in handing out voter registration forms as a part of civic engagement since they’re not able to vote themselves.
Proponents of the measure say this can enhance election security, but in July a judge placed an injunction on the law.
Colon with the NALEO Educational Fund says their only goal is to ensure those who are eligible to vote are registered to vote.
“We don’t tell folks how to vote, we don’t tell them who to vote for,” said Colon. “What we do say and encourage is for them to be extremely active. Because when you vote for someone, you’re voting for the future of your children when it comes to school boards, mayors, county commissioners, etcetera.”
As for when it comes time to cast a ballot, voters need to be aware of another new voting law. Under the law, you must re-request a vote-by-mail ballot if you prefer that method. The new law requires voters to apply for a vote-by-mail ballot every election cycle, instead of every two general election cycles.