Skip to main content

Rosario Dawson wants you to register

By Rosario Dawson, Special to CNN
updated 7:45 AM EDT, Tue September 24, 2013
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
updated 12:53 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Jeff Yang calls Ello a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat.
updated 10:23 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Paul Waldman says the Secret Service should examine its procedures to make sure there are no threats to the White House--but without losing the openness so valuable to democracy
updated 10:55 AM EDT, Wed October 1, 2014
Jesse Williams says the videotape and 911 call that resulted in police gunning down John Crawford at a Walmart reveals the fatal injustice of racial assumptions
updated 7:03 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Mel Robbins says officials should drop the P.C. pose: The beheading in Oklahoma was not workplace violence. Plenty of evidence shows Alton Nolen was an admirer of ISIS.
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, William Piekos says..
updated 3:11 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
The Occupy Central movement has already achieved much by bringing greater attention to Hong Kong's struggle for democracy, writes William Piekos.
updated 10:13 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
As Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits America, Madeleine Albright says a world roiled by conflict needs these two great democracies to commit to moving their partnership forward
updated 10:04 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
John Sutter: Lake Providence, Louisiana, is the parish seat of the "most unequal place in America." And until somewhat recently, the poor side of town was invisible on Google Street View.
updated 9:11 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Julian Zelizer says in the run up to the 2016 election the party faces divisions on its approach to the U.S.'s place in the world
updated 10:19 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
Ruben Navarrette says Common Core supporters can't devise a new set of standards and then fail to effectively sell it.
updated 9:29 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
Earlier this month, Kenyans commemorated the heinous attack on the Westgate Mall in Nairobi.
updated 2:59 PM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
David Wheeler says Colorado students are right to protest curriculum changes that downplays civil disobedience.
updated 9:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Sally Kohn says when people click on hacked celebrity photos or ISIS videos, they are encouraging the bad guys.
updated 7:55 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Loren Bunche says she walked by a homeless man every day and felt bad about it -- until one day she paused to get to know him
updated 9:32 AM EDT, Tue September 30, 2014
ISIS grabs headlines on social media, but hateful speech is no match for moderate voices, says Nadia Oweidat.
updated 8:33 AM EDT, Mon September 29, 2014
A new report counts jihadists fighting globally. The verdict? The threat isn't that big, says Peter Bergen.
updated 5:37 PM EDT, Tue September 23, 2014
Ebola could become the biggest humanitarian disaster in a generation, writes former British Prime Minister Tony Blair
updated 12:58 PM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
ISIS has shocked the world. But will releasing videos of executions backfire? Four experts give their take.
updated 10:39 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
Eric Holder kicked off his stormy tenure as attorney general with a challenge to the public that set tone for six turbulent years as top law-enforcement officer.
updated 9:09 AM EDT, Fri September 26, 2014
LZ Granderson says Obama was elected as a war-ending change agent, not a leader who would leave behind for his successor new engagement in Iraq and Syria. Is he as disappointed as the rest of us?
updated 5:10 AM EDT, Wed September 24, 2014
Gayle Lemmon says the question now is how to translate all the high-profile feminizing into real gains for women
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT