By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The man picked up the brochure in the library on how to check on his voter registration status.
“I think I’m registered,” he said. “I definitely don’t want to miss out on this one.”
The League of Women Voters don’t want him or any other Wood County citizen to miss out on voting. So on Tuesday, members staffed tables at libraries throughout Wood County to help people register or make sure they are already registered to vote.
“Most people have said they’re registered, which is great,” said Judy Knox, as she sat at a table in the Wood County District Public Library on National Voter Registration Day.
The window to register to vote is nearing closure, with the last day on Oct. 9. Early voting for the general election starts the next day on Oct. 10.
The League of Women Voters teamed up Tuesday with libraries in Bowling Green, Grand Rapids, North Baltimore, Pemberville, Walbridge and Weston, to give local residents opportunities to register to vote.
“It’s a very dynamic political environment,” said League member Joan Callecod as she volunteered up at the Walbridge Library. “It’s important for people to cast their votes.”
The League of Women Voters have had a registration table at the Bowling Green downtown farmers market all summer.
“We’ve tried to put a real push on,” Knox said.
“This is the first step to being a citizen,” Knox said about registering to vote. “The next step is getting to the polls.”
There are multiple options for how people vote, she explained. They can vote absentee, or do early voting at the board of elections, or vote on Election Day Nov. 6.
As she was working at the voter registration table in Bowling Green, Knox heard a common refrain from a citizen.
“Someone walked by and said, ‘I don’t know why people wouldn’t vote. Countries fight for the ability to do that,’” Knox said.
Voting, she said, should just be part of a person’s life. “Every voting is important, frankly.”
In addition to registering voters, the League of Women Voters members also offered information on registering online, the types of identification accepted at the polls, and verifying voter registration.
“It’s just good to check,” with voter purging being done, Knox said.
Prior to being removed from voting rolls for inactivity, citizens should receive notice from boards of election, Callecod said.
“People should be contacted by mail,” she said.
But citizens with questions if they are still registered to vote after moving, not voting recently, changing their name, or serving jail time, can verify their registration by calling the Wood County Board of Elections at 419-354-9120, or going to lwv.ohiovotes.us.
Following is basic voting information from the League of Women Voters.
Step 1: Register to vote by the deadline:
- The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 general election is Oct. 9.
- Who is eligible? You must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years old or older by the general election, an Ohio resident for at least 30 days before Election Day, not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction (people with prior convictions may register to vote), have not been declared incompetent to vote or denied the right to vote by a court.
- Register to vote or check your registration online at www.MyOhioVote.com or by calling your county board of elections.
- If you moved, changed your name, or have not voted in a few years, you may need to update your registration.
Step 2: Decide how you want to cast your ballot:
- Vote by mail: Fill out and send in an absentee ballot request form. This year the Secretary of State will automatically send an absentee application to every Ohio registered voter, or you can request one by calling your county board of elections.
- Vote early in-person: Registered voters may vote early at your county board of elections. Early voting will begin on Oct. 10 for the November 2018 election.
- Vote at your polling place on Election Day: Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 6, for the general election. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. By law, if you are in line at 7:30 p.m., the polls must stay open to allow you to vote. Note that polling locations and precincts may have changed, so it’s a good idea to confirm your location before you go vote by looking it up online at www.MyOhioVote.com.
Step 3: Make sure you have an acceptable form of ID:
- Ohio driver’s license or state ID card with your name and photo. The card must be current (not expired), but it can have an old address.
- U.S. Military ID with your name and photo (address not required).
- Unexpired government ID with your name, current address and photo. Student ID is not accepted.
- Original or copy of one of the following documents with your name and current address: utility bill (including cell phone bill), bank or financial advisor statement, pay stub, government check, or other government document. Must be dated within the last year.
- If you do not have any of the above, you may use the last four digits of your Social Security number, but you will have to vote a provisional ballot. It will be counted so long as the number matches your voter registration. Be sure to complete all fields on the form.