09/25/2012 07:34 pm ET Updated Nov 25, 2012

Register in September, Make it Count in November

Today is the first-ever National Voter Registration Day, and it's a reason for every one of us -- regardless of political party, and free from partisan gridlock -- to celebrate a simple action at the core of our democracy.

Sometimes, elections draw attention to our differences, the places where we have competing ideas about what's right for our country and what it will take to solve our most serious problems.

But, there are a couple of things we can all agree on. Every citizen has the right to participate in these critical decisions about America's future. And the more people who are involved in making those decisions, the stronger our nation will be going forward.

The non-partisan National Voter Registration Day is driven by a simple principle, one put best by iconic organizer Cesar Chavez:

"We don't need perfect political systems. We need perfect participation."

That's why I'm so excited about today -- we have the chance to launch a new American holiday, one that emphasizes people over party, and empowers all of our communities to claim a better future not through registering to vote.

And in an election cycle where the specter of dark money and unlimited, anonymous spending threatens to make the race about the interests of a small few, National Voter Registration Day offers an antidote: we're fighting Big Money with Big Momentum, creating a groundswell of grassroots energy that will drive our people-powered politics into November and beyond.

At no point in our recent history is something like National Voter Registration more needed. With groups developing voter "anti-turnout" programs and new laws in dozens of states that make it harder to register and vote, voters need all the help they can get to feel confident and prepared when they head to the polls in November.

Today, over the course of a remarkable 24 hour period, volunteers, celebrities and organizations from all over the country will hit the streets to register voters and collect pledges to vote from people who are already registered.

Groups that aren't usually involved in registering and mobilizing voters will be joining in on this special day, amplifying the work of organizations that devote their heart and soul to encouraging more people to register and vote.

The National Association of Secretaries of State -- the guardians of the voter registration process in some respect -- has officially recognized September 25th as National Voter Registration Day. This is a huge win for our movement, which will continue working after today to pair bottom-up energy with top-down leadership to elevate the place of voter registration in our democracy.

We'll use on-the-ground organizing, special events and social media to reach and register tens of thousands of people in person and online. By the time we're done, we will have drawn the attention of people all across the nation to our simple message: Register in September, Make It Count in November.

In 2008, 6 million Americans didn't vote because they missed a registration deadline or didn't know how to register. This year, we want to make sure no one is left out.

National Voter Registration Day is the most compelling way we can do that. I hope you will join citizens all across the nation - people of every party and political persuasion - as we put our differences aside and come together to celebrate the rights that unite us as Americans.