About 1 in 3 Missourians Isn't Registered to Vote
Today is National Voter Registration Day, and Missourians have many locations where they can register to vote - from community colleges and universities to public libraries and even online. Missouri's population has topped six million, but as of 2022, the Secretary of State's office reported just 4.3 million had registered to vote.
Paula Bowman, co-president of the League of Women Voters, said part of her group's mission is to engage voters in democracy, and it starts by helping people register.
"Well, [you] can't participate in your democracy in terms of elections unless you vote," she explained. "We want to help people avoid that hassle and get registered to vote as soon as possible when they are eligible."
U.S. Census data from 2020, show as many as one in four eligible Americans had not registered to vote. Every year, millions find themselves unable to cast a ballot because they miss a registration deadline, do not update their registration when they move, or are not sure how to register. The Secretary of State's office has a list of deadlines and more information, at 'SOS.mo.gov.'
Bowman suggested a person's civic engagement increases after they register and said the fact that they have registered to vote is a valuable matter of public record.
"Believe it or not, they start getting all kinds of campaign information," she said. "People may contact them to be a poll worker or an election worker. I will say that not all of that is welcome, but it does make them recipients, which is important."
National Voter Registration Day is marked every September, when volunteers and organizations across the country hit the streets in a single day of coordinated field, technology and media efforts. Missouri's deadline to be registered to vote is 28 days before any given election.
The Missouri Public News Service is a partner with KRCU Public Radio.