Are you registered to vote?

It’s a simple, direct question, and thus it might make you a bit uncomfortable. But we’ll ask it again, just for emphasis: Are you registered to vote?

This upcoming Tuesday, Sept. 24, is National Voter Registration Day. That makes this an opportune time for you to make sure you’re registered, or update that registration if needed. If you have a Kansas driver’s license, you can actually register online. If you don’t you’ll need to use a paper form.

Regardless, registering to vote is the first step in not just participating in democracy, but in making your voice heard. And the more people register, the more people believe in the process, the better it works for all of us.

We understand. It can be difficult to believe that one person or one ballot makes a difference. And we’re not going to trot out stories about races decided by a single vote, although such stories definitely exist. No, we’re going to emphasize a complementary case.

If you don’t vote, you leave our system vulnerable.

We worry about voting machines and foreign hacking, but the surest way to make our elections nonrepresentative, to make them subject to the whims of big money, is not to vote. Because mark our words: A vote you don’t cast is vote for a candidate and platform you vehemently disagree with. It’s a vote they don’t have to counter. It’s a vote they can put in the bank and collect interest on as you pay ever-less attention to public affairs and good government.

Polling suggests that if every single eligible voter cast a ballot, our political system would look quite different than it does today. Those who believe the system doesn’t serve them are helping create a system that doesn’t serve them.

But that’s not all. Voting is also a surefire, on-the-record way of expressing yourself. Yes, your candidate or party may not win all the time. Indeed, given the nature of our party divisions, it may win about 50 percent of the time. But if you care about your cause, and if you care about setting a marker for it, then cast that ballot.

Demonstrate that you showed up and lent your support.

And none of that — not a single bit — is possible if you don’t register. So get online and figure out the steps today. We’ll see you at the polling place.