Voting is an exercise in democracy. And no matter where you fall on the political spectrum, if you’re not registered to vote, your voice won’t be heard. Midterms matter! And for these crucial 2018 elections, the deadline to register is Tuesday, October 9.
That's why the Free Library of Philadelphia is working to make it easy to register, and to get everyone thinking about the issues at stake, during exciting upcoming programs. 36 library locations will be polling sites on November 6 (Note: If you’re a first time voter in your district, you’ll need to show a form of ID.)
First, whether you’ll be a first-time voter or you’ve recently moved to the state, you can stop by any neighborhood library and pick up a Pennsylvania voter registration form. If you leave your completed form with library staff before October 9, they’ll take care of getting it turned in by deadline. Or use a Free Library computer to complete your voter registration form online.
Also, we’ll have volunteers from voter registration groups at many neighborhood libraries on Saturdays through October 6, where you'll be able to register using paper forms or organization volunteers can walk you through the online process.
Want to know if you’re eligible to vote? Here are some guidelines:
- You must be a United States Citizen for at least one month before election day.
- You must be a resident of Pennsylvania and your election district for at least 30 days before election day.
- You must be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next election, November 6.
- College Students: If you attend college in Pennsylvania, you can register to vote where you live. You may only register and vote in one place.
- If you are in prison or have been convicted of a felony, you may register and vote if you are in prison awaiting trial but have not been convicted; in prison after being convicted of a misdemeanor only; have been released from prison or a halfway house; are on probation or house arrest.
Are you getting ready for a special birthday before November 6? If it’s the big 18, you might have a lot happening—college applications, homecoming dances, and of course, exams. But there’s one big midterm you don’t want to miss—the election. So, get registered! Meet other teens at Vote that Jawn, hosted by Safe Kids Stories on Saturday, September 22, where you can even check out democracy-themed books from the Free Library’s Book Bike, or hear the new Youth Poet Laureate, Wes Matthews, read.
Prospective voters of any age can take part in National Voter Registration Day on September 25, with registration tables at lots of locations across the city. Come to Parkway Central for a special program featuring a talk by dynamic author Imani Perry, whose new book, Looking for Lorraine: The Radiant and Radical Life of Lorraine Hansberry, examines the life of the iconic black playwright and activist. But first, join us in the lobby to hear a reading from A Raisin in the Sun, slam poetry, as well as R&B and jazz music by University of the Arts students Reiko Copeland and Aleasha A. Q. Watson-Mitchel. Hear a short talk about gerrymandering from Committee of Seventy, and enjoy refreshments.
This is What Democracy Looks Like, a Free Library program series, also rolls out on September 25. Community-centered activities across the city will get you thinking about issues that matter, while you interact with your neighbors and civic organizations. Mark your calendar for these free events:
- This Is What Democracy Reads Like
Meet former Mayor W. Wilson Goode, Sr., when he discusses his new book, Black Voters Mattered: A Philadelphia Story at libraries throughout the city.
- This Is What Democracy Feels Like
Discover the story of a resilient family in the acclaimed documentary Quest, playing at libraries across Philadelphia.
- This Is What Democracy Sounds Like
Listen to choral music inspired by activism and informed by social justice, performed by Singing City, at Falls of Schuylkill Library.
- This Is What Democracy Moves Like
Learn African and Afro-Caribbean dance rooted in traditions of community solidarity at Logan Library during a free workshop.
- This Is What Democracy Quilts Like
Decorate a quilt square at Ramonita G. de Rodriguez Library. Your unique work of art will become part of the library, stitched into a quilt that will be unveiled during the library’s 50th Anniversary Celebration in December.
- This Is What Democracy Cooks Like
Sample delicious, healthy foods, take home recipes, and enjoy activities for all ages at Joseph E. Coleman Library.
What does democracy look like? It looks like you, casting your vote on November 6! So get registered with the Free Library and we’ll see you at the polls!