COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – In the final six weeks leading up to the November 3rd general election comes a push for eligible voters to make their voices heard.
Tuesday, September 22nd is National Voter Registration Day. In Ohio, the day falls just shy of 2 weeks from the October 5th registration deadline.
“We’re just trying to get the word out to people you’ve got a couple of weeks to update your voter registration file with us,” explained Aaron Sellers, the public information officer at the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Registration is open to U.S. citizens living in Ohio at least thirty days prior to the election and who will be at least 18 years old by Election Day. The latest totals show there are more than 868,000 registered voters in Franklin County. Sellers said in the previous week, September 13-19, Franklin County received 10,000 new voter registrations.
The COVID-19 health crisis has prevented some traditional means of voter engagement and also prompted community partners to offer their own outreach.
“With COVID, things have been slower in the sense of campaigns and outreach and groups going out and collecting new voter registrations,” Sellers said.
At the Bottoms Up Coffee shop in Franklinton, owners are offering pre-packed kits with voter registration and absentee ballot request forms, voter information, as well as sanitized pens. Customers can also scan a QR code posted on the wall to go directly to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website and check their registration statuses.
“Even if you weren’t expecting to do it or maybe it slipped your mind… you might be out grabbing a coffee, you see it and you’re like, ‘Oh, I need to do this, this is important and members of my community are pushing me to do this.’ I think it’s awesome, honestly,” said Emma Swysgood.
The Franklinton voter said she’s seen several businesses offering similar voter outreach and has been encouraging her own friends and acquaintances to take advantage of such opportunities.
“I know a couple of people who didn’t vote last year and so we’ve really been pushing so everyone’s registered and ready to go for November,” Swysgood said.
You can find voter registration forms and information in the following locations:
- Secretary of State’s website: https://olvr.ohiosos.gov/
- Franklin County Board of Elections (for Franklin County residents): https://vote.franklincountyohio.gov/
- Ohio Secretary of State’s Office: 180 E. Broad Street, Columbus
- Any public high school, vocational school, college, public library or BMV
- Agencies providing public assistance and disability programs
- Franklin County Treasurer’s Office: 373 S. High Street, Columbus
Forms can be submitted online, in-person at the preceding locations or postmarked to the Secretary of State’s Office or to your local Board of Elections by 9 p.m. on October 5th.
All Ohio Boards of Elections will extend their operating hours on October 5th for voters to drop off registration until 9 p.m.
If you’re currently a registered Ohio voter with an outdated address or name, you’re encouraged to update your registration prior to October 5th, but will be permitted to cast a provisional ballot in-person on Election Day.
You can learn more about National Voter Registration Day by clicking here.