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Capital News: Go check your voter registration status, right now

by MARC KOVAC | CAPITAL BUREAU CHIEF Published: September 28, 2016 12:00 AM

Columbus -- Maybe you're a regular voter, casting a ballot whenever the polls are open, whether a primary, general or special election.

Maybe you send in an absentee ballot to avoid the lines on election days.

Maybe you make your choices at one of Ohio's polling places during the state's nearly month-long early, in-person voting period.

Maybe you gather the kids and drive down to your precinct location on Election Day, showcasing our American democracy in action for the next generation.

Maybe you don't vote that often, choosing only presidents or governors in even-year elections.

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Maybe you refrain from the process unless a local tax levy is to be decided.

Maybe you haven't voted in years, disgusted with the same old, same old, but you're ready to break out of your rut and help choose the person who is to become the newest most-powerful person on the planet.

If you don't plan to vote this year, then you can stop reading and go back to whatever you were doing.

But if you are planning to vote, whether through the mail or early and in person or on Election Day, heed this simple advice: check your voter registration.

Now.

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It's not a difficult process -- go to MyOhioVote.com online, put in your personal details and you'll find out if you're registered, along with your address and precinct polling location.

It takes all of about 30 seconds. If you moved, you can change your address via that same site. If, for some reason, you aren't registered, but you're eligible, you can get information on how to remedy your status.

You can even print out an absentee ballot application, if you didn't already get one in the mail.

Don't have an Internet connection? Call or visit your local elections board. They'll help you check your information and update it, if necessary.

Elections officials can't make it much easier, short of going to your house, taking you by the hand, walking you to their office and baby talking you through the process.

The deadline to register or to change your address is Oct. 11.

Early voting for all residents starts on Oct. 12. (Overseas and military voters could begin casting ballots as of Sept. 24.)

Nearly 525,000 Ohioans have already submitted their absentee ballot applications, up from about 485,000 at this same time four years ago.

What are you waiting for?

Postscript

State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent) rightly points out that eligible Ohioans can change their address after that registration deadline.

However, doing so means you'll likely have to cast a provisional ballot.

As long as elections officials can confirm your information and ensure you haven't cast multiple ballots elsewhere, that provisional ballot likely will be counted, Clyde said.

But there's a risk with voting provisionally. Some of those ballots aren't counted.

Generally speaking, it's a better idea to update your information before the registration deadline and cast a regular ballot, with the assurance that your selections will be counted.

But Clyde wants to make sure that people who forget to update their address information still visit the polls.

All of that said, there still aren't many good reasons for not checking your voter registration status before Oct. 11.

Marc Kovac is the Dix Capital Bureau Chief. Email him at mkovac@dixcom.com or on Twitter at OhioCapitalBlog.


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