Skip to main content

Rosario Dawson wants you to register

By Rosario Dawson, Special to CNN
September 24, 2013 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
People wait to turn in their voter registration forms to the Miami-Dade, Florida, elections department in October.
People wait to turn in their voter registration forms to the Miami-Dade, Florida, elections department in October.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Rosario Dawson: Today is National Voter Registration Day, making it easy to register
  • Dawson: Voters on November 5 will have many crucial races and initiatives to decide
  • So much is on the line, she says, we owe it to our communities to vote
  • Thousands of voter registration events are planned nationwide

Editor's note: Rosario Dawson is an actress and activist. She is the co-founder of Voto Latino and spokeswoman for National Voter Registration Day.

(CNN) -- Fifteen hundred elections and ballot initiatives will be decided Election Day 2013. Although no congressional or presidential candidates are on the ballot, the results of the votes will have a significant impact on the everyday lives of millions of Americans.

With so much on the line, we Americans owe it to our families, friends, neighbors and communities to get out to the polls. Today, September 24, is National Voter Registration Day, which gives millions of Americans who aren't on the voter rolls a chance to easily register.

Rosario Dawson
Rosario Dawson

On Election Day, which falls on November 5, the outcomes of many major political races will be determined, including the governorships of New Jersey and Virginia. Once elected, these governors will work with their legislatures to draft their states' budgets and determine how much road improvements, parks and school systems will be funded and whether state taxes will go up, down or stay the same.

Several mayoral elections will also be decided in November, including the race to lead New York City, America's largest metropolis. Parents will be asked to determine the makeup of school boards, many of which face tough decisions because of budget cuts -- one of the toughest being whether to close schools. Entire communities will need to determine the outcomes of ballot referendums that will amend state constitutions or establish or recall local laws that affect everyone in the community.

It is important that all Americans help make those decisions. To that end, more than 800 organizations, including the National Association of Secretaries of State, are taking part in the largest one-day effort of the year to register voters and secure their participation in the American political system.

Critics: Voter registration too complex

Identified as a national day for civic action, National Voter Registration Day brings together nonprofits, volunteers, celebrities and political leaders to engage potential voters on the ground through coordinated events nationwide. From bus and rail stops, to retail stores and malls, to concerts and fairs, thousands of voter registration events are planned.

Why create a day to bring national attention to voting? Because voting is the bedrock of our democracy and how every American takes ownership of the communities where we live, work and play. Voting is also the easiest way to make your opinion known on any issue -- local, state or national -- that's important to you and your family.

To improve our schools, we must vote. To restore or build new parks that our kids can safely play in, entire communities must vote. To improve our transportation infrastructure, every American has to vote.

In 2012, more than 300,000 Americans registered to vote during the first National Voter Registration Day. This year, we will continue to do for civic engagement what Earth Day does for global warming and environmental awareness.

On September 24, we encourage and welcome all Americans who aren't on the voter rolls to join us in a celebration of our democracy by registering to vote.

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook/CNNOpinion.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Rosario Dawson.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1539 GMT (2339 HKT)
Mike Downey says the Giants and the Royals both lived through long title droughts. What teams are waiting for a win?
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1832 GMT (0232 HKT)
Mel Robbins says if a man wants to talk to a woman on the street, he should follow 3 basic rules.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2103 GMT (0503 HKT)
Peter Bergen and David Sterman say more terrorism plots are disrupted by families than by NSA surveillance.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2125 GMT (0525 HKT)
Time magazine has clearly kicked up a hornet's nest with its downright insulting cover headlined "Rotten Apples," says Donna Brazile.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 2055 GMT (0455 HKT)
Leroy Chiao says the failure of the launch is painful but won't stop the trend toward commercializing space.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Timothy Stanley: Though Jeb Bush has something to offer, another Bush-Clinton race would be a step backward.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1237 GMT (2037 HKT)
Errol Louis says forced to choose between narrow political advantage and the public good, the governors showed they are willing to take the easy way out over Ebola.
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1803 GMT (0203 HKT)
Eric Liu says with our family and friends and neighbors, each one of us must decide what kind of civilization we expect in the United States. It's our responsibility to set tone and standards, with our laws and norms
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1145 GMT (1945 HKT)
Sally Kohn says the UNC report highlights how some colleges exploit student athletes while offering little in return
October 26, 2014 -- Updated 1904 GMT (0304 HKT)
Terrorists don't represent Islam, but Muslims must step up efforts to counter some of the bigotry within the world of Islam, says Fareed Zakaria
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1302 GMT (2102 HKT)
Scott Yates says extending Daylight Saving Time could save energy, reduce heart attacks and get you more sleep
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 0032 GMT (0832 HKT)
Reza Aslan says the interplay between beliefs and actions is a lot more complicated than critics of Islam portray
October 27, 2014 -- Updated 1119 GMT (1919 HKT)
Julian Zelizer says control of the Senate will be decided by a few close contests
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 1212 GMT (2012 HKT)
The response of some U.S. institutions that should know better to Ebola has been anything but inspiring, writes Idris Ayodeji Bello.
October 21, 2014 -- Updated 1312 GMT (2112 HKT)
Sigrid Fry-Revere says the National Organ Transplant Act has caused more Americans to die waiting for an organ than died in both World Wars, Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq
ADVERTISEMENT