Be heard, get registered  

Wendy Hankins
Staff Writer

   With election day drawing near, many students and other citizens will not be able to vote because they simply failed to register.

   Oct. 4 is the deadline to get your voter’s registration completed to be eligible to cast your vote in the November election. Anyone can pick up the required forms at the County Clerk’s Office, Department of Motor Vehicles, Department of Human Services, Child Support Office, Secretary of State’s Office or the local library. Don’t have time to drive to these locations? No need to worry. Just log on to http://www.sosweb.state.ar.us/elections_voter_registration.html, download the application, fill it out and mail it to:

Secretary of State - Charlie Daniels
Attn: Voter Registration
P.O. Box 8111
Little Rock, AR 72203-8111

   Not sure if you have what it takes to be a registered voter? You must be a citizen of the United States and a resident of Arkansas. In addition, you must be at least 18 years of age before the next election within the county in which you are registering to vote. Convicted felons cannot register, nor those deemed mentally incompetent by a judge.

   In the past few months, television networks including MTV and Comedy Central encouraged everyone, especially younger adults, to register to vote. Popular culture icons such as professional skate boarder Tony Hawk and rapper Xzibit interrupted regularly scheduled programs on MTV to encourage young people to get out and vote.

   The interruptions may be slightly annoying, but we need them. How many people actually pay attention to commercials? By inserting these announcements in the middle of popular shows, more people hear the message. MTV’s "Choose or Lose" Web site contains vital information about where each candidate stands on important issues that can help you make an informed decision in November. Comedy Central is also encouraging everyone to get registered with ads demanding, “Declare yourself!” and the WB aired “Rock the Vote” commercials. You can get more information about voting on these networks’ Web sites by logging onto the addresses listed below.

http://www.mtv.com/chooseorlose
http://www.declareyourself.com
https://secure5.ctsg.com/rtv/ovr/

   According to Drew County Circuit Clerk Carolyn Cook, more than 10,000 people registered to vote in Drew county, yet only between 50 and 55 percent voted in the last general election.

   “I really and truly wish everyone would register and then go vote. We have a lot of people who register and just do not vote. It is so sad,” Cook said.

    The “Rock the Vote” tour bus united music and voter registration. It traveled to many universities, concerts and malls during its 50-city cross-country trek, which continues until Oct. 15.

    Celebrities and television networks are not the only ones persuading citizens to be informed and to get registered. Cook said churches and other organizations in Drew county picked up handfuls of voter registration applications and made them available to those who would not have otherwise gone to the courthouse to get them.

    “Exercise your right. This is one right we have left,” Cook said.

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© The Voice, 2004
Revised 20041001 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_3/register.htm