Greer: You have until Friday to register and be counted!
Are you registered to vote in the Sept. 10 primary? If not -- and you're a U.S. citizen who's been a city resident for at least 30 days -- you have until Friday to register for a political party and have your say about this year's expanse of candidates.
The issues in this race are more important than ever. The candidates present diverse ideas about myriad issues ranging from stop and frisk, education, housing, job growth, economic development, transportation, police surveillance and unions. By voting, you'll help decide the fate of the city's post-Bloomberg era.
The last time New Yorkers elected their mayor, less than 20 percent of registered voters actually went to the polls for the primary, and only 26 percent of registered voters showed up in November. Radio station WNYC produced an interactive voting map from 2009, showing that several districts had less than 10 percent of eligible voters show up to the polls. Not even one voter in 10 went to pull the lever!
Many of these districts are the same locales where schools need the most resources, stop-and-frisk practices are the most rampant, and public housing is most in need of repair. Most of the districts with the lowest percentage of voter participation were in the outer boroughs -- especially the Bronx.
Once candidates become officeholders, they respond to several factors, but one is surely where their votes have come from. So voters must do their part to assess who would be best for their lifestyle, their neighborhood and their district -- and then go to the polls and participate in this sometimes complex democratic process.
The candidates have been crisscrossing the city for months to engage voters. The Board of Elections and elected officials have provided registration forms in libraries and post offices. They have a phone line (866-VOTE-NYC) and website (www.vote.nyc.ny.us) with information about registering. There is still a long way to go to boost the city's turnout rate, but voters have a responsibility here, too. Much is at stake for our city and our personal and economic futures.
So, be sure to register by Aug. 16. And see you at the polls on Sept. 10.
Christina M Greer, assistant professor of political science at Fordham University, can be found on Twitter at @Dr_CMGreer.