“Your every voter, as surely as your chief magistrate, exercises a public trust.”
— Grover Cleveland inaugural address, March 4, 1885.

The most important thing about voting is not when you vote, but that you do. Fortunately, Ohio makes it easy.

While the traditionalists may still go to the polls on Election Day to cast their ballot, an ever-growing number of people favor early voting because it’s less hectic than on Election Day, the extended hours are more convenient, or because one never knows what the weather will bring in early November. And, if one happens to forget to vote early, there’s always Nov. 6.

This year voters may either be energized about the election, or turned off by the state of the nation’s politics. Either way, though, citizens have a civic duty to participate in the process. Votes do count.

That said, voters will have a little homework to do before they weigh in. The general election ballots will be filled with numerous races and issues.

Study materials will be available. Stories on local, state and national election matters will appear in both The Courier and the The Review Times in coming days. The Hancock County Board of Elections’ website (www.hancockboardofelections.com) has lists of all the candidates and issues that will appear on local ballots.

Statewide, voters have a state issue and races for governor/lieutenant governor, attorney general, auditor, secretary of state, and treasurer. Two Ohio Supreme Court seats will also be filled, and both U.S. and Ohio Senate and House seats will be decided.

Most local ballots will be busy, too. In Hancock County, for example, there are a total of 12 issues on the ballot. No county races are contested.

The state’s generous early voting schedule affords options to voters. Those voting absentee, by mail, can request a paper ballot be mailed to them or can pick one up at the BOE, 201 E. Lincoln St. Absentee ballots must be returned there by 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6, or if mailed, postmarked by Nov. 5 to be counted.

The opportunities for walk-in early voters at the BOE are many, and include hours on certain Saturdays and Sundays and five evenings in October and November. Altogether, the extended hours mean the BOE will be open 194 hours between now and Nov. 6.

Considering it should take no more than 10 minutes to vote, unless there’s a line, there really is no good excuse not to.

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