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Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day | Here's why it matters

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate is emphasizing the importance of registering to vote and how your vote matters.

DES MOINES, Iowa — National Voter Registration Day is a nonpartisan civic holiday meant to celebrate our democracy. 

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, volunteers from all over the country will spend their day registering millions of Americans to vote. 

Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate will be speaking to schools about the importance of voting and providing resources needed to get registered. 

"I've got to explain to them why they need to be voting. I mean, for a lot of people as you become more established in your community, as you lay in your roots. And I mean by that is, maybe you've got that career job now, you're not just doing a job, you've got a career job, you've got a home, maybe you have children and they are in the school system. Those are things that put roots in a community, and voting tends to come more naturally for them," Pate said.

This year, Pate said he is focusing specifically on getting 18- to 24-year-olds registered to vote. 

"I want to make sure these young people particularly understand that their role is very important. Now they're doing the job interview, they're helping the rest of the country see up close and personal these candidates without a lot of filters. This is an exceptional role. In fact, candidly, I'll tell people if you haven't met a candidate running for president in Iowa, you're living in a cave, because they are everywhere," Pate said.

Each year, this holiday continues to emphasize that every vote matters and can make a difference in each election. 

"Some people are like, 'Eh, I don't need to vote, it's just the city and school board elections,'" said voting advocate John Olsen. "But it's those positions that affect us most directly."

This national holiday has gotten more than 5 million voters registered to this date. However, the mission remains the same every year to register, educate, mobilize and unite Americans. 

According to U.S. Census data from 2020, as many as 1 in 4 eligible Americans are not registered to vote. 

If you would like to register to vote, you can visit Voter Ready | A Guide To Voting In Iowa or you can visit your local county auditor's office. 

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