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Polls open for early voting

10/24/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

GREATER AKRON — Polls will be open for the General Election Nov. 5 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., but Ohio voters also may vote early to avoid lines or congestion.

According to Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, individual Board of Elections (BOE) offices have set early voting hours this year.

In Summit County, registered voters can vote early in person up to Nov. 1, the Friday before the election, at the BOE offices, 470 Grant St., off East Exchange Street near The University of Akron campus. Free parking is available there. The office is open Mondays through Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Medina County BOE offers early voting through Nov. 4 at its offices at 4210 N. Jefferson St. in Downtown Medina. Through Oct. 31, votes can be cast there from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with the exception of Oct. 30, in which the hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. On Nov. 1, early voting hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Nov. 2, 8 a.m. to noon; and Nov. 4, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In addition to voting early in person, voters can still submit a request to their BOE to vote absentee. Application forms are available at BOE offices and websites and must be submitted to the BOE no later than Nov. 2 at noon if mailed or Nov. 4 at 4:30 p.m. if brought in person (Medina County’s deadline is 2 p.m. that day).

Absentee ballots returned to the BOE by mail must be postmarked by Nov. 4, the day before the election. Absentee ballots may be hand-delivered to the BOE in their sealed envelope by the voter or a family member by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Absentee ballots are not accepted at polling places on Election Day.

If a voter requests an absentee ballot but then doesn’t use it and wishes to vote in person on Election Day, the BOE will require the voter to vote on a provisional ballot, which will not be counted until 10 days after the election.

Those who are voting in person on Election Day in Summit County will want to make sure they check to see if their polling location has changed.

After reducing the number of precincts from 475 to 298 in 2012, the BOE moved this year to increase the number to 420 precincts.

Voters whose polling locations changed should have received an orange postcard in the mail this fall with this information. Voters also can find that information on the BOE website or by calling.

However voters plan to cast their votes, they must remember to have a valid form of identification available.

Identification may include a current and valid photo identification; a military identification that shows the voter’s name; or a copy of a current (within the past 12 months) utility bill, bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document that shows the voter’s name and current address. A notice sent to a voter by the BOE is not considered a valid form of identification.

According to both BOEs, voters who do not provide one of these documents still will be able to vote by providing the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number and by casting a provisional ballot. Voters who do not have any of the above forms of identification, including a Social Security number, still will be able to vote by signing an affirmation swearing to the voter’s identity under penalty of election falsification and by casting a provisional ballot. If identification is not provided at the time the provisional ballot is cast, the provisional voter may provide a valid form of identification in person at the BOE during the 10 days following Election Day.

The deadline to register to vote or make changes to a voter’s registration has passed. It was Oct. 7.

For more information, go to www.summitcountyboe.com or call 330-643-5200 in Summit County. In Medina, go to www.boe.co.medina.oh.us or call 330-722-9278.

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