The Ohio May Primary opened with a glitch: the ballots wouldn’t scan. It became a problem that made Twitter and local news segments, but wasn’t the only interesting or exciting thing that happened that day.
As serious as voting is, it is also a day to celebrate, remember, and feel accomplished.
Voting is a serious and important business. It’s how we change city and county charters, amend current regulations and legislation, and elect people who we feel will fight for our and our community’s best interests. As serious as voting is, it is also a day to celebrate, remember, and feel accomplished.
While checking IDs and providing voting ballots during the May primary, I had a chance to sing happy birthday to a voter who chose to celebrate it by casting their vote. Then there was the family who came in bursting with excitement that their child received a full-ride to the college of their dream and was voting in their first election, a huge milestone for many young adults. Then there was the almost 90-year-old woman who feared she would miss voting for the first time since she was allowed to vote and was so happy she made and received the help she needed to cast her ballot.
Why are we voting in August and November?
According to my colleague Hope Lane-Gavin, who wrote an election recap in May, “…due to the ongoing deliberations among the Ohio Redistricting Commission and the Ohio Supreme Court, district lines are still not settled for the Ohio General Assembly and thus primary contests for these races will be at a later date.”
As of May 27, a federal court ruled that Ohioans will use maps previously rejected by the Ohio Supreme court for the August and November elections.
While there are still some issues with Ohio’s congressional maps, as of May 27, a federal court ruled that Ohioans will use maps previously rejected by the Ohio Supreme court for the August and November elections. The case regarding redistricting and congressional maps is still in flux as of this writing.
As we prepare for a special election in August and general election in November, here are a few tips to help you and your fellow voters have a quick and easy election day.
- Check your registration!
Many people don’t know that their voter registration expires over time. Before the election, login to your county’s board of election’s website and make sure that the following is correct: Your name, address, and that your registration is current and valid. You can find your county’s board of election here.
- Check your voting location EVERY election.
From consolidations of polling locations to changes in precinct or district boundary lines, your voting location may not be the same as it was the last time you voted. Checking your voter location before going to the polls will save you time, gas and frustration. Also, if you end up at the wrong location, no worries. The poll worker checking you in will be able to look up your address and direct you to the correct polling location.
- Find out who’s on your ballot.
You can find a sample ballot on your county’s board of elections website. You can also learn about issues or candidates who may be on your ballot by visiting Ballotpedia, a nonprofit that considers themselves the “encyclopedia of American politics and elections,” or candidates’ websites.
- Make sure you have the right documents to vote.
While a photo ID is a great, and quick, way to complete the check-in process and receive your ballot, you can also provide alternate identification: military ID, a utility bill, or a bank statement. For a full list of acceptable and unacceptable forms of voting identification, visit https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/id-requirements/.
- Voters with disabilities have access to accommodations.
While absentee ballots are an option, all polling locations have accommodations for voters with disabilities, such as ADA polling machines and curbside options. To learn more about those accommodations you can visit https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/voters-with-disabilities/.
- Be patient with your poll workers!
Like most things in life, election day can and probably will have a few hiccups. Please be patient with poll workers as they try to ensure that all eligible voters have the chance to cast their ballots in a safe and secure manner. If they forget something or having difficulties with a certain procedure, charge it to their head and not their heart.
- Check your registration!
Don’t forget to vote on August 2!
Don’t forget to vote on August 2! In May, nearly 1.7 million of the almost 8 million registered voters in the state voted. Let’s get that number up. Share voting resources with everyone, your friends, family, neighbors, even your favorite barista at your local coffee shop.