Register to vote! It's a message that can be seen everywhere lately. Its promoted on your Facebook feed, your favorite celebrity is talking about it on their Instagram story, you hear it on the radio so, surely, everyone has registered, right?

Wrong. According to Michigan.gov, in the 2016 Presidential election there were 7,737,250 people that were of voting age but only 7,360,506 were registered to vote. That's a difference of nearly 378,000 people in Michigan alone. So, what's stopping people from exercising their right to choose the next leader of our country? One possibility is lack of resources. I remember as an 18 year old I had absolutely no idea what I was doing when it came to registering to vote. But, I had internet at home and people in my life to guide me. Not everyone has that luxury.

That's why it was so encouraging to find a recent post on Facebook by Books & Mortar committing their Fridays and Saturdays to helping their fellow Grand Rapids community members register to vote.

The post reads:

The election is right around the corner and registration has to be a major priority for us all! — starting next week, we will have a laptop available on Fridays and Saturdays from 11-4 for voter registration. Please share with anyone who is missing the library and could use a stable internet connection to register!

Due to restrictions caused by the pandemic, the local library, which has long been a source for internet access, remains closed. Yes, many restaurants and fast food installations offer internet access while you're dining in their establishment but what about those that can't afford to eat out, that don't have a laptop, that don't have a smartphone? These are members of our community whose voices deserve to be heard too. And, thanks to this public service by Books & Mortar, they can be.

November is right around the corner! If you still need to register to vote you can do so here.

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