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Make sure your voice is heard

If you live in Ohio and are registered to vote, you likely have received in the mail a request form for an absentee ballot for the Nov. 3 election.

It’s a reminder that there are several formats available to anyone who wants to vote.

No matter what you might have read or heard, that doesn’t have to be a complicated process. Of course, Ohioans have the option of voting on Election Day. Residents also can vote early in person at the county board of elections. The third option is to vote by mail, using the same absentee process that has been in place for many years.

Making the trip to your precinct polling location on Election Day is a time-honored rite of fall for many people. But with the issues raised around the COVID-19 pandemic, some voters might not feel comfortable waiting in a long line with a large group, and for those people, in-person early voting and the absentee voting process are good options.

Frank LaRose, Ohio’s secretary of state, and Dianne Gribble, director of the Jefferson County Board of Elections, stress the importance of deciding early how you plan to vote this year. If you think the absentee system will work best for you, they add you should not wait to fill out the form and return it, either through the mail or at the dropbox in front of the Towers, 500 Market St., in Steubenville.

Doing so will help to ease the burden on election board employees who are expecting a significant influx of election mail as well as the postal workers who are working to make sure the paperwork is delivered on time, LaRose explained.

Of course, none of this means anything if you are not registered to vote, and if you have not yet completed that process, time is growing short. The deadline to register in Ohio is Oct. 5, and in-person early voting will begin Oct. 6. The secretary of state’s office reports there will be additional mailings of absentee ballot request forms to those who register between now and Oct. 5.

Whether it’s early at the board of elections, through the absentee voting process or in person on Nov. 3, every vote cast will be important. Make sure your voice is heard.

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