Yesterday was National Voter Registration Day–the highlight of National Voter Registration Month–but that’s not the end of the story.

National Voter Registration Day is part of a larger movement within the nonprofit sector, recognizing the many benefits of voting. Registered voters are six times more likely to contact or visit a public official and three times more likely to participate in a school group or neighborhood or community association. Additionally, voting is linked to higher levels of self-reported health and lower recidivism rates for ex-offenders.

If you didn’t register yesterday, there’s still time–how much depends on your state. Check your state deadline. Once you’ve registered or updated your registration, encourage your friends, family, and coworkers to do the same.

Remember that registering is only a first step and there’s still a ballot to cast. Luckily you might not have to wait until November 6th! In 2008 about 33% of votes were cast before Election Day and in 2012 that number is expected to top 40%. Learn about early voting options–both in-person and by mail–in your state.

Once you’re registered and ready to vote, there’s still plenty you can do to encourage others. Research shows that when nonprofits talk to their clients about voting, they are not only more likely to vote but are also more likely to talk to their friends and family about voting. Building on this in 2012, Nonprofit VOTE is encouraging nonprofits to visibly support voting and order a “Vote November 6” kit which includes a poster, button, stickers, and a list of sample activities for nonprofits. We’re also hosting a special web event on October 11th–Nonprofits Get Out the Vote! Countdown to Election Day–which will focus on get-out-the-vote strategies and include a discussion with sector leaders.

Increasing voter participation nationwide isn’t a one-time effort. It requires a sustained culture shift that emphasizes participation. Nonprofit VOTE is here to help nonprofits across the country do just that, both now and after the election. For additional ideas, browse our list of 10 Things to Do Between Now and Election Day.

Now go register to vote, update your registration, or double check your registration status!

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