by Noor Hindi
Voting in Ohio’s primary election, which was scheduled for March 17, has been extended until April 28.
With all the confusion, here’s three key things you need to know so you can continue participating in democracy:
1. If you didn’t vote early before the March 17 primary election, absentee voting is permitted until April 28.
Before voting, you must be registered. The deadline to register to vote is always 30 days prior to an election. The primary election was originally scheduled for March 17 and registration has not been extended, so if you are not currently registered, you cannot vote in the primary.
Find out whether or not you’re registered to vote by going to summitcountyboe.gov. Click on “Am I Registered?” Type in your first and last name. If your name appears, you’re registered.
Now you have to go through the absentee voting process, which has several steps: Requesting an absentee ballot, and then actually filling out that ballot.
Step 1: Download an absentee ballot request form using this link. Print it out. If you do not have a printer, call the Summit County Board of Elections at 330-643-5200 to have an absentee ballot request form mailed to you.
Step 2: Fill out your absentee ballot request form. Then, mail it to the Summit County Board of Elections at 470 Grant St, Akron, OH 44311. You can also drop it off at the Board of Elections in person.
Step 3: Once the Board of Elections receives your request form, they will mail you your ballot and a self-addressed, stamped envelope. After receiving your ballot, fill it out. Then mail it back to them. Ballots must be postmarked by April 27 and can be dropped off in person at the Board of Elections until April 28.
To register to vote in the Nov. 3 general election, go to holvr.ohiosos.gov before Oct. 5.
2. Keep up with local politics by finding your neighborhood councilperson.
- Find your ward by going to akroncitycouncil.org/find-my-ward
- Once you know your ward, find your councilmember by going to akroncitycouncil.org/council-members/
- Click on your councilmember’s page, learn about them, connect with them using email or social media, then attend your neighborhood ward meetings.
- To find out when your local ward meetings are, go to akroncitycouncil.org/upcoming-meetings/
Right now, councilmembers are working on adjusting their council meetings given the current circumstances.
On March 19, Governor Mike DeWine “urged all local public bodies to hold their meetings remotely,” according to a City of Akron press release. On March 20, the body suspended meetings “until further notice.” Ward 1 councilman Richard Swirsky says the council has been busy thinking about how to relocate city council meetings to Zoom, and they’re looking at moving ward meetings to Zoom too.
Ward 10 councilwoman Sharon Connor will be using social media, newsletters, phone calls and emails, as well as Zoom, to keep in touch with her constituents. Ward 8 councilman Shammas Malik has already scheduled a Zoom ward meeting.
“It’s going to be a menu of options and we’re going to have to choose all of the above. There’s a lot of folks who come to ward meetings who are older adults who aren’t necessarily the folks who are going to live-streaming,” Malik says.
The best way to keep up to date with your current ward meetings is to contact your councilmember.
3. Livestream Akron City Council meetings from home on YouTube.
When City Council meetings resume, they take place every Monday from 7-9 pm. You can livestream meetings by following Akron City Council on YouTube.
Noor Hindi is The Devil Strip’s Senior Reporter. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.