01/18/2012 10:31 am ET Updated Mar 19, 2012

While the Net Goes Dark for SOPA and PIPA, Register to Vote

It is probably not lost on many people who use Twitter or Facebook, read blogs or do virtually anything on the Internet that today is a day of action for many companies and individuals online against disastrous copyright legislation like the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). What may not occur to you is what you can do while your site or your favorite sites are dark: register to vote.

Yes, the shouts from the public square of the Internet are loud and clear regarding this particular technology and access issue. But come November, and the months leading up to it, we as an Internet public should exercise the right to vote and be involved in our electoral process in ways outside of direct activism against Internet legislation. The legislation may go away, but the system that allowed the legislation to get this far in the first place is here to stay unless we decide to do something about it.

Today, check with organizations like Rock the Vote, Voto Latino, the League of Women Voters and even your local registrar to see how you can register to vote if you are able to.

Take it a step further. Exercise your online creativity and muscle to support a candidate who might make a difference, but lacks the financial resources to take on the incumbents. Write a check. Make a donation online today or Thursday. Volunteer online or commit to action offline. Time, talent and money are what many new candidates need to make into into public service.

January 18 reflects the commitment of the technology community to take a stand when it comes to policies that would serve to cripple the openness and values that have made the Internet so robust. January 19 and onward should reflect a pledge to reengineer our political system in a way that empowers those on and offline to continually have a voice and influence in all facets of our political process.