The Department of Catholic Schools wants you to vote, and will do what it takes to help you register.
During Catholic Schools Week (Jan. 31-Feb. 6), the Department of Catholic Schools will ask and encourage people in the diocese to register to vote to make their voice heard.
"When we get close to an election, we always put out information for our people about the issues that are important to all of the Catholic dioceses," said Christian Riso, assistant superintendent of Catholic Schools for Government and Special Programs. "It's irrelevant to put out that information if you're not registered to vote. Our hope is now, that we're away from the election itself, that people will take the time to register to vote, so they at least have the option to vote when we get to the next election."
Parishes and schools are asked to provide registration forms to their parishioners. Ideally, information tables will be present at open houses or after Mass. Bulletin announcements and electronic blurbs on Facebook and Twitter can help get the word out.
"With Catholic Schools Week coming around, we thought that might be a nice time to focus on what you can do as a Catholic to support Catholic education," Riso said. "Registering to vote is one thing you could do. A lot of the policies that relate to Catholic schools are decided in Albany and at the federal level."
Riso would like Albany to see a spike in voter registration around Catholic Schools Week to show the legislators that New York state has a strong Catholic voice and should serve the Catholic vote.
"I know people get a little funny about being a person of faith and participating in politics, because there's always been that separation of Church and State idea," Riso said. "Well, we're not separated. We are part of society and we are part of our faith community. We need to let our political representatives know that we have certain thoughts on how the world should be. Politicians tend to focus on people who vote. They have to know that we matter. We have to vote."
To register, potential voters must be 18 years old by Dec. 31, not be in prison or parole for a felony conviction, not be judged mentally incompetent, and not claim the right to vote elsewhere.