This Tuesday, registered voters across the state need to answer a call. That call comes from the polling stations in Cuyahoga, Geauga and all the other 86 counties in Ohio. The call is to cast votes.
The issues voters will decide on during the Nov. 5 general election focus on county, city, village, township and school district candidates and issues. These all need the thoughtful consideration of voters.
Voting is a right. Voting is a responsibility. Voting is an opportunity to have a say in matters that impact our lives.
Over the last several months, the Times has published election stories to provide you with information on candidates and issues. If you missed them or want to review them, the stories live on our website ChagrinValleyToday.com.
We have given readers a chance to voice their support and objections to candidates and issues through our Letters to the Editor pages. We are pleased that so many of you have joined the conversation.
Both voters and precinct officials must take responsibility to protect every individual’s right to vote. So, be prepared when you go to the polls.
To cast a ballot on Nov. 5, you the voter must present a proof of identification with your name and address such as a driver license or state-issued identification card. A U.S. passport and student ID do not qualify since they lack a current address.
Other accepted IDs could include a government benefits letter with your name and current address, according to the Ohio State Bar Association.
You, the voter, do need to figure out your precinct and voting location. You can find that information out by contacting the board of elections in your county either online or by phone. That information also is available on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website www.ohiosos.gov.
If you have registered but do not have proper identification or are not on the poll list, you are by law still allowed to vote through a provisional ballot. If you happened to have moved to a different precinct within 30 days before the election, you also have the right to vote through a provisional ballot. With this type of ballot, the board of elections will review the voter’s information and decide if he or she is eligible to vote. If so, the ballot counts.
If you get in line at your precinct before the polls close, you have the right to vote even if the scheduled closing time of 7:30 p.m. rolls around. The law allows people with disabilities such as blindness, physical impairment or the inability to read or write to receive assistance from a person of their choice. The exception would be if that person is your employer or a candidate on the ballot. You also can receive help from two precinct election officials, one from each political party.
Residents who believe they have been wrongfully denied a chance to vote should speak to the precinct manager and ask to fill out a Form 10-U, according to the state bar association. After filling out the form, you should be permitted to vote via a provisional ballot.
You have the right to report any violations of voting laws occurring at a polling place – whether by candidates, advocates, precinct election officials or voters – to the local board of elections.
There’s no excuse not to vote. If you are busy on Tuesday, you can vote before Election Day at your county board of elections today, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and even Monday. If you have an absentee ballot, it must be postmarked by Monday, the day before the election. Or, you can drop it off at your county board of elections by the time polls close on Tuesday.
Voting begins at 6:30 a.m. and ends at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Make your voice heard. Vote.