Today (Sept. 25) is National Voter Registration Day, when thousands of volunteers across the country station themselves in shopping malls, subway stations and other public places to help citizens register to vote.
This year, you can also register from the relative comfort of your chair via TurboVote, a widget on the website of National Voter Registration Day. TurboVote began as a Kickstarter project by students at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. It received funding from Google, as well as individual backers on the startup site.
New voters can register through TurboVote, but the site also offers handy services for people who have been voting for decades.
First, you'll need to confirm your registration. If you're not registered, you'll type in your ZIP code and be sent to your state's site to fill out the forms. A PDF file with your completed form will be instantly sent to your email address. It's up to you to print and mail the forms to your state's registrar. (In some states, the entire process can be done online — TurboVote will let you know as you go through the process.)
You can also request an absentee ballot, but again, you may still have to print and mail your application.
You can also sign up for free alerts from TurboVote to help you stay on top of ballot issues. Have you ever gone to the polls, drawn the curtain across your booth, and launched the ballot only to find there was a new bond issue that you'd missed? Did you leave it blank or mark your ballot without really knowing the details? Getting email alerts from TurboVote for local and state issues will give you time to do your research.
Take a few minutes today to make sure you're ready to vote come November.