I always knew something would compel me to
get off my lazy ass do the work it takes to publish a first diary. I just didn't expect that 'something' to be voting rights.
I cast my very first vote in the 1988 presidential election. While I found it exhilarating to be a fully participating citizen exercising a brand new right, I also approached it with a grave sense of responsibility. I never have cast a vote alone; with me always in the voting booth were those whose voices were never heard. Sitting out an election has never been an option for me. To do so would be a slap in the face to every woman or minority who was beaten, maimed or killed simply for wanting a voice in their own governance.
Over the years the excitement of it has worn off but the sense of duty has not. I've voted in every election since 1988: local, county, state, recall, school board, you name it. It's become something I take for granted because the entire process - for me - has always been pretty straightforward and boring with a distinct lack of drama.
That all changed yesterday with im a frayed knot's diary:
Attention Colorado Voters
I don't live in Colorado or any other battleground state. Arizona is pretty damned red and I imagine it's going to stay that way until demographics inevitably catch up to it. We both just received our new voter ID cards updated with our new districts so I assumed our registrations were active. Why wouldn't I? But just for shits and giggles I decided to check the status of my voter registration, and my husband's.
He is fine. I am listed as inactive.
I called the county recorder's office to ask why and of course the first thing they posited was that our address must be invalid and election mail must have been returned to them. Um, no, I'm sitting here looking at mail you just sent to us and it's not my husband - same address! - it's just me. Apparently their "system is down" and she couldn't give me the actual reason. However, she did say she will change my status to active and it should show up on the website by this afternoon. I am also going to call her back this afternoon when their system is back up to see if I can dig up the real reason I was purged. My husband and I are both registered Independent so I do wonder if it's because I'm female; I can't think of any other reason right off the top of my head.
(Update: Actually, I can. Our address is in a neighborhood that... well, I wouldn't be at all surprised to see Arpaio and his goons come rolling up the road in a tank. Strange about my husband's, though.)
The upshot of this is that it doesn't matter whether you're in a battleground state or not. It doesn't matter if your state hasn't been in an uproar over voter suppression tactics. It appears this is happening everywhere, whether quietly or with all the hyperventilating, pearl-clutching goodness.
Somehow I missed jamess's excellent diary from July 15th: Are you ready to vote legally speaking?
In that diary he provided a partial listing of states with their corresponding Voter ID requirements, along with links to check your voter registration status. One link he provided is a centralized one: CanIVote.org and it is a good place to start.
I thought it might be helpful if I gathered together the links for ALL the states and I have done so below. Some states it only took 30 seconds to find this information; other states buried it so deeply it took a half-hour or more to find it (if it existed at all). Most of these links will take you directly to your state's online tool for checking the status of your voter registration and I have noted - to the best of my ability - where that is not the case. If you do look up your registration and find you've been unexpectedly purged, please feel free to add your state to the tags so others can find this info, too.
California's site has websites for some counties but in others there is only a phone number listed.
Connecticut (h/t to hester, somehow I forgot CT; it wasn't deliberate!)
Delaware (New Castle)
Delaware does not appear to have an online tool to check your registration; the links above are lists of voters whose registration is not complete for some reason. Full elections contact info for each county is included at each link.
I could not find an online tool to check voter registration in Hawai'i, either; the link above is a PDF with all of the county clerks' contact info.
I'm not sure if the Maine page will tell you whether or not you are registered. Some of these states make it nearly impossible to find the information.
In Massachusetts you can only check your registration status via the town clerks' offices. I haven't listed them here individually but this link takes you to a directory of counties, with links.
Same in Mississippi as Massachusetts: a list of registrars by county.
North Dakota is the only state that does not have voter registration.
Oklahoma is the same as DE and MA: the link above is a PDF with contact info for each county election board.
I could not find an online tool for checking voter registration in VT, just a listing of town clerks.
I'm not sure if Wyoming gives you registration info or just polling locations.
Obviously it's better to check on this sooner rather than later; most states have deadlines that cut off a month or more before elections, and that's just to register. There's no telling how long it might take to reinstate a registration that's fallen into a voter suppression pit.
Nice try, Arizona. But if you want to disenfranchise me you're going to have to do a lot better than that. I may have taken voting for granted after all these years but you've guaranteed one thing: I will never again take my voter registration for granted.
1:01 PM PT: Holy Mackerel, the rec list?! Thank you so much for putting me there.
To my fellow Arizonans: if you find you have been purged, call your county recorder's office, no need to re-register according to my conversation with them this morning. (Not sure if I'm going to trust that statement and I'm certainly going to stay on top of it.) If you're in Maricopa County, the number is 602.506.1511.
1:59 PM PT: Here are a few more resources gleaned from the comments:
Another/an updated site for Delaware voters: http://pollingplace.delaware.gov/ (h/t mmacdDE)
For our American expats: https://votefromabroad.org/ (h/t lizah)
And a Smartphone app, woo-hoo!: http://www.866ourvote.org/ (h/t kamarvt)
4:31 PM PT: Lizah - in the comments - provided a link for expats to check their registration, which got me to thinking. Do any of our military members/families here have any links to military-specific sites that are publicly accessible? If so, I'd love to add them in the interest of comprehensiveness.