Monmouth County Clerk Christine Hanlon is encouraging members of the public who meet eligibility requirements to register to vote in this year’s elections through a new program called ‘Your Vote Matters.’ The deadline to register is May 17 for the June 7 primary election, and Oct. 18 for the Nov. 8 general election.
Hanlon’s effort includes public service announcements, videos, a new website and visits to local high schools. She recently visited several schools to discuss the County’s ‘Your Vote Matters’ program that aims to increase voter participation. Hanlon explained to students the criteria for registering which includes: citizenship in the United States and residency in Monmouth County 30 days before the election. In addition, a person may register to vote at age 17, but must be 18 to cast a ballot.
“Voting is an important opportunity to participate in the democratic process by electing officials and deciding public questions,” said Clerk Hanlon. “This is an important freedom we enjoy and a civic duty. The first step is registering to vote and then casting a ballot on Election Day.
“Voter participation in last year’s election was the lowest in state history,” explained Hanlon. “We must make every effort to reverse the decreasing turnout trend. Students turning 18 are excited about the chance to become involved. ‘Your Vote Matters’ is intended to raise awareness of their responsibility and assist them and any member of the public in the simple process to register.”
According to the state Division of Elections, only 22 percent of registered voters in New Jersey participated in the 2015 election. In Monmouth County, 22.82 percent cast a ballot and four counties experienced less than a 20 percent turnout.
Hanlon will continue to visit high schools throughout the County informing students about the ‘Your Vote Matters’ program. To ensure no school is overlooked, she encouraged them to contact her office at 732-431-7324 to schedule a visit.
The comprehensive outreach program includes a website http://www.monmouthcountyvotes.com/, public service announcements by Hanlon and a video of how to vote by mail. For more information, the public may call 732-431-7790 for more information.