The general election is 25 days away, but another deadline looms even sooner. Oct. 20 is the last day to register to vote.
To register to vote in California, you must be a United States citizen, a California resident, at least 18 years of age on Election Day, and not in prison or on parole for the conviction of a felony.
Registering to vote only takes a few minutes, and you can easily find registration forms in many places throughout the state. You can register on-line, or you can pick up a voter registration form at your county elections office, library or U.S. Post Office.
It is important that your voter registration form be filled out completely and be postmarked or hand-delivered to your county elections office at least 15 days before the election.
If you are unsure how to fill out the voter registration form, you can contact your county clerk or visit www.voterview.org.
The Web site will show you how to complete the voter registration form on your computer.
When you fill in your address, the address for your county elections office will automatically be added. Just print the form, sign it and mail it directly to your county elections office.
If you have the voter registration form mailed to you, be sure that the county elections office has a signed copy.
State law requires you to provide a valid signature on a voter registration card; otherwise, you will not be registered to vote until your county elections office receives a signed copy of this form.
Processing of voter registration usually takes a week or two.
If you are already registered, you will automatically receive your sample ballot and all the voting information.
You will need to re-register to vote if you have moved to a new permanent residence, changed your name or changed your political party choice.
Voters who legally change their name, but not their address, do not have to re-register. If you have changed your name, you can vote after updating your information at the polls.
You can also learn how to register on many Web sites that are available to you on-line. For example, check out Rock the Vote’s Web site www.rockthevote.com or Vote 411 at www.vote411.org.
Many Web sites will have an election center that will guide you through steps on how to register, locate your polling place in your state and what will be on the ballot.
Also, if you are studying, serving or living abroad, you can still vote with partners at Overseas Vote Foundation and register and learn the laws specific to your home state with overseas vote foundation by visiting www.overseasvotefoundation.org.
If you lost your debate between Gov. Sarah Palin and Sen. Joe Biden, or Sen. John McCain and Sen. Barack Obama, in your office lunch room and your co-workers voted you off their team, that vote does not count. But this one does. It is still your duty as an American citizen to vote.
You may consider yourself to be Republican, Democrat, independent or maybe even a Green Party member – it does not matter because your feelings on taxes, education, health care, Social Security and other important issues do matter.