Deadlines approaching for voter registration

By Jennifer Woods -

The deadline to be registered to vote in the Nov. 5 general election is Monday, Oct. 7, according to election officials.

The deadline is determined by keeping it 30 days prior to the upcoming election.

Requirements to vote in Ohio include: being a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days prior to the election, not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction, being 18 years old or older at the time of the election, have not been declared as incompetent to vote by the probate court and have not been permanently disenfranchised for violating the election laws.

Those who are currently serving jail or prison sentences for a felony conviction cannot register or vote. People who have been convicted twice for a violation of Ohio’s election laws are barred from voting in Ohio.

Previously existing registrations are cancelled when someone is incarcerated on a felony conviction. Once released, the person must re-register to vote by the appropriate deadline.

In order to register, a person generally needs an Ohio identification or driver’s license number, full name, date of birth, permanent address and the last four digits of their social security number.

A permanent address is a location a person intends to return to and is not a temporary stay. Those without permanent addresses who stay consistently in shelters or other locations can use that location as the residence for voting purposes as long as there is an intention to return to that location.

The residence of military voters along with military voter spouses and dependents is the last location lived in (in Ohio) immediately before leaving Ohio for military service.

If Ohio college students live on campus and have no intention of returning to a previous permanent address, the student may register and vote using the school’s location. If there is an intent to return, the student can also choose to stay registered and vote from their permanent address away from school, such as their parents’ address. Regardless of which option is taken, only one address can be used for registration and voting purposes.

There are many ways to register to vote and to update existing voter registrations. Keeping registrations updated are important and necessary.

“Voting has been made very accessible,” explained Robin Beekman, the chairperson for the Fayette County Board of Elections (BOE).

Online voter registration and registration updates are an option through the website of the Ohio Secretary of State, Frank LaRose.

In-person registration and registration updates can be completed at a few local locations.

– The Fayette County BOE, 135 S. Main St. in Washington C.H., from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

– The Fayette County License Bureau, 103 E. East St. in Washington C.H., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Saturday.

– The Carnegie Public Library, 127 S. North St. in Washington C.H., from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

– The Fayette County Treasurer’s Office, 133 S. Main St. (third floor) in Washington C.H., from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

– Washington High School, 400 S. Elm St. in Washington C.H., has voter registration and update forms in its office for both students and community members to fill out and submit.

Those who are 17, as long as they will be 18 by the time of the general election this November can register now.

Beekman explained it’s important for young people to get involved in elections as “they will be leading our government in years to come.”

Military and overseas absentee voting began on Sept. 20.

Absentee voting by mail will begin on Oct. 8 and must be postmarked by Nov. 4. The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is Nov. 2 at noon. Absentee ballots can be dropped off at the BOE until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Early in-person voting begins on Oct. 8 and lasts until Nov. 4.

On Nov. 5, the polls will open at 6:30 a.m. and will close at 7:30 p.m.

“It’s very important for people to vote to help structure our government,” said Beekman. “All your votes count.”

To check the status and polling location for a registered Fayette County voter, please go to the Fayette County Board of Elections website.

Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.

By Jennifer Woods