Today is one of the most important days of the year, possibly life-altering if you register to vote for the first time.

You will be empowered to make your voice heard on local, state and federal issues. Your voice, your vote will help chart the future of your community, of California, and of the nation.

If you do not register to vote, you will be muzzled when it matters most — Election Day.

Today, Sept. 25, is National Voter Registration Day, a national holiday celebrating our democracy. It was first observed in 2012 and has been growing in popularity every year since. It is held on the fourth Tuesday of September. The holiday has been endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS). It is further supported by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).

It is a movement that has attracted schools, libraries, actors and actresses, musicians, civic groups and more to register.

In 2016, more than 750,000 voters used National Voter Registration Day to register to vote across all 50 states.

National Voter Registration Day leaders say the day is all about uniting for a common purpose. “National Voter Registration Day is a day of civic unity. It’s an opportunity to set aside differences and celebrate democracy and the rights and opportunities we all share as Americans.”

RegisterIn California, you may register to vote if you meet the following criteria:

  • You are a United States citizen
  • You are a resident of California
  • You are at least 18 years of age (or will be by the date of the next election)
  • You are not in prison or on parole for conviction of a felony
  • You have not been judged by a court to be mentally incompetent to register and vote

If you already registered to vote, this day is still for you. It’s an excellent time to sign up for election reminders, check your registration online, get mail ballots, learn about early voting and more.

Remember that is you’ve moved, changed your name (due to marriage or court order) of if you wish to change your political party affiliation, you must re-register.

You may register to vote right here, right now. All you need is:

  • Your California driver license or California identification card number,
  • The last four digits of your social security number, and
  • Your date of birth.

In mere minutes, you will have activated your voice to be heard in one of the most important elections of our time.

Voting provides people an opportunity to voice their opinion and vote for what they believe in whether it be a gas tax or the next City Councilmember, it holds elected officials accountable for their behavior while in office, and it prevents a minority from dictating the policies of a majority.

But you cannot vote if you do not register.