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(c) by Mary Griggs

The party conventions are over and the presidential candidates for the 2012 elections have been decided.

Now is not the time to become complacent, however. Do not assume that your fellow Americans will turn out in sufficient numbers for your candidate to be successful.

There is an old truism in politics that the side that gets the most people to the polls will win. This year, it is more important than ever that we register to vote, commit to voting and encourage others to do the same.

With voter suppression efforts happening across the nation, we have to make sure everyone knows how not to be disenfranchised by carrying the required identification to the polls.

National Voter Registration Day is September 25th and there are a number of groups building apps which help you figure out what you need to do to exercise your right to vote. In Louisiana, the Secretary of State has a section of the site dedicated to election/voting information you can use. At GeauxVote.com, it covers that you must take one of the following to the polling place:

• a driver’s license;
• a Louisiana Special ID; or
• some other generally recognized picture ID that contains your name and signature.

You may get a free Louisiana Special ID at the Office of Motor Vehicles by showing your voter registration information card.  If you have misplaced your voter registration information card, contact your registrar of voters for a new one.

Voters who have no picture ID may bring a utility bill, payroll check or government document that includes their name and address. The voter will have to sign an affidavit furnished by the Elections Division in order to vote.

If you registered to vote in advance of 2008 and have not voted since or failed to update your residential/mailing address, your registration may have been purged by your local registrar of voters. Go online to verify your status and print the screen to take with you to the polling place. You can use the voter portal to access your information: https://voterportal.sos.la.gov/voter.aspx

Anyone who might have the slightest problem getting out to vote on Tuesday, November 6, please take advantage of early voting.

Plenty of people fought and even died to gain the right to vote. Don’t disrespect their sacrifices by not exercising your rights this year.