Being the first in the nation to do something is never easy. And Monique Hall's voter registration efforts are no exception.
The mother of eight children is helping to organize a voter registration drive lead by the Parent Policy Council at a number of Portland-area Head Start locations from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3. And she wants to get everyone on the voter rolls.
"I don't care if you're polka-dotted," she says with a laugh. Hall is a volunteer at Albina Head Start and when she and other parents learned of a new law that allowed Head Start locations to be used as registration sites, she and 30 other parents jumped on the opportunity.
Hall says she's voted in every election since the time she was 18 and wants others to empower themselves and their communities through the democratic system.
"I have my preference to see who wins," says Hall, who keeps her politics to herself. "But if you're not registered it's not going to make a difference."
She wants people to know that every Oregon resident over the age of 18 can vote — Even if you're homeless; even if you've been convicted of a felony; even if you're 17 and don't turn 18 the day of the election; even if you don't have an Oregon driver's license.
One hurdle that many citizens may not think they can overcome is homelessness – not true, according to the Multnomah County Elections Office. Someone without a permanent address can have their ballot mailed to the county elections office, but must list a residency address (i.e. a specific location that person can usually be found).
You must reregister if you've changed your address, a ballot can not be forwarded. Your registration must be made by Oct. 14 – 21 days before the election.
"People take their right to vote for granted," Hall said. "For women and African Americans, there was a time our vote didn't mean anything."
Where to Go
To register to vote, change your address or party affiliation, go to one of the following locations from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. You must be registered 21 days before an election. Bring your ID or have the last four digits of your social security number if you don't have an Oregon Driver's License.
Sept. 29: 6841 N. Interstate Ave. and 3674 S.E. Gladstone St.;
Sept. 30:606 N.E. Ivy St. and 4514 S.E. Flavel St.;
Oct. 1: 4219 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. and 7600 N.E. Glisan St.;
Oct. 2: 6930 N. Kerby Ave. and 909 N.E. 52nd Ave.;
Oct. 3: 911 N. Skidmore St. and 9009 N. Foss St.
So don't be left out. Be ready to vote. Get everything you need right here http://www.statedemocracy.org/