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Sunday, October 26, 2008

How To Early Vote Successfully In Ohio!

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The end of this election season is coming to an abrupt close. There are 12 days left to cast your vote. Will you wait until the last moment and then rush to cast your vote in a furious flurry, or will you cast a vote early and free up a space in line for someone who cannot get enough time off from work to go to the polls? Now’s the time to make your decision and take action. It’s such a simple thing that has been complicated by the need to automate every aspect of society.

Voting machine technology, which was supposed to simplify the whole process has come up short of the hype. What was supposed to streamline the process, improve accuracy and reliability is now causing interminably long lines at the polls and in the end is not necessarily accurate. We now know that our “state of the art” electronic voting equipment is unreliable at best (see EVEREST report), prone to tampering at worst. So, here are a few tips to help you successfully cast your ballot in a timely manner.

Request a paper ballot instead of using a machine, at least that way you’ve begun to leave a paper trail that you can see has the correct boxes checked. The paper ballots are also easier to correct if you make an error.

By voting early you can avoid having to show I.D. and meet the exact match requirements you would be required to meet when voting on election day. Since you’re using an absentee ballot all you’ll need is the last 4 digits on your Social Security card. So, if you’re able to get to your Board of Elections office and cast a ballot before 11/4/08 please do so, it may help you avoid a lot of frustration on voting day, as well as long lines.

Make sure to pick up a voting recommendation card for guidance on who to vote for and how to vote on the issues and judges, from your local party branch. You’re allowed to have one of these cards in the voting booth with you as you make your choices. This is especially helpful in selecting judges, since their party affiliations are not listed like the other candidates.

If you anticipate you will be unable to make it to the polls for any reason, or you just want to avoid the hassle, you can request an absentee ballot through the mail. Your ballot will be sent to you, so you can fill it out at your leisure and even ask questions or use the internet to research an issue or judge, etc. before casting the ballot. When you’ve completed it you can send it in the mail or deliver it to the polls on or before election day.

Another thing to consider is that each county produces the ballots for their county. Therefore, the ballots in each county may have a different appearance. In fact, some voters have been having problems already with their ballots, because of the format used to lay out the ballot. So, having the time to go over it carefully, where you’re not in a hurry to finish it and turn it in is advantageous for this reason also. Here’s an example of a sample ballot used in one of Ohio’s 88 counties that has caused some confusion because of the 2 columns with presidential nominees.

This link will give you all the information you need on Early Voting Locations in Ohio, while also acting as a gateway into the Secretary of State’s website, which has all the current information on successfully casting your ballot in Ohio, as well as information on ballot issues, judges, etc.

Ohio has one of the most informative and interactive websites for voters, instituted by the Secretary of State’s office, so make sure to put it to good use. After you have cast your ballot you can go to the site and tell your voting day story, be it good or bad. I’m sure they won’t mind hearing some of the good, as well as the bad and the ugly. You can use the link to The Voting Rights Institute

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner has been working diligently to correct the transgressions of her predecessor, the infamous former Secretary of State Blackwell. I have to give her an “A” grade. So far, so good. The system seems to be working. She’s had to fight off a number of lawsuits initiated by the Republicans that were initiated even before this years’ primaries. Some of them, like the latest attempt to disenfranchise approximately 200,000 new registrants have gone all the way to the US Supreme Court, who decided in favor of the Secretary of State.

Ohio has had more than its share of problems with the voting process. But, this year that big yellow sun on the Seal of the Great State of Ohio is shining brightly over a new day in politics for the citizens of Ohio.

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