NEWBURY, Ohio — In my opinion the recent absentee voting law change makes it much easier to utilize an absentee voting ballot than it would be to go directly to the polls.
If you are not happy waiting in line and want to avoid the social contact which comes with visiting local election places, then absentee ballot might just work for you. According to Ohio House Bill 234, section 3509.03, all registered voters can now utilize the absentee voting method.
According to latest census data there are around 75,000 people in Geauga County which are old enough to vote. Since we have only about 65,000 registered voters, that extra 10,000 voters could mean a lot to any political party. If I were running for an elected position I would key in on this unregistered population, and also those who register but don’t bother to vote. In an off year election where we have say 35,000 voters turn out, this could leave as many as 65,000 voters that are not spoken for.
According to the Geauga County Board of Elections website, voter turnout for the May 4th, 2010 primary election was only 25.08 percent of registered voters. We had 64,688 registered voters and only 16,222 total ballots were cast.
Our off year voting record has been disappointing to say the least. In many of these off year elections Geauga has barely peaked over 50 percent turnout, and in 2007 it was as low as 37 percent voter turnout. This is dismal but with some help from your local election board we could increase this turnout to at least 90 percent.
Elections when we are voting for President tends to get at least 75 percent of our registered voters involved. Another serious problem is that there are far more voting age people in Geauga county who just do not register to vote!
What this boils down to is voter apathy, we need to educate potential voters the importance of being represented by including your voice in the decision making process, this starts with voting.
So what can be done to get people more involved? Get them registered, and an absentee ballot. You must fill out a request, then fill it out properly and submit it on time. Stop by the county board of elections in your area, and you can also pick one up at your county board of elections, your county government offices, or local political party headquarters. Any one of these places can help get you the application required for voting this way.
There are plenty of reasons to choose this method of voting, and I feel that this were to be more widely publicized, this could increase the number of active voters in each election significantly. The fact remains that Geauga County recorded only 25 percent voter turnout for the primary election this year. It is a shame that more Americans are not interested in their own government to actually take the time to vote!
The best thing to do if you are interested in utilizing the absentee ballot method for voting this year is to contact any local government office, plus there are numerous websites that can be used when you need to apply for an absentee ballot.
Geuaga County Board of Elections:
State of Ohio absentee ballot application page:
To view the revised Ohio H.B. 234: