The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of our daily lives: what we wear, where we go, and who we can visit- but it does not change your vital role in our democracy.
With the 2020 General Election right around the corner, it is important to be aware of upcoming deadlines and processes to make your vote count and your voice heard.
Before heading to the polls on Nov. 3, 2020, you must be registered to vote. The deadline to register to vote for this election is Oct. 5, 2020.
To register, you will need your Ohio driver’s license or Ohio identification card number, name, date of birth, address, and the last four digits of your social security number. If you have recently moved, you will need to update your voting address. Last year, the Ohio Secretary of State’s office purged thousands of citizens from voter rolls. Some of these names were removed in error, so even if you have not moved and you have previously voted, you should verify your voter registration out of an abundance of caution.
The unpredictable nature of a global pandemic makes the possibility of in-person voting unclear for many. To be safe, you can vote by mail. To do so, you will need to complete and mail an absentee ballot application to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections at 2925 Euclid Ave Cleveland, OH 44115. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election, but it is highly recommended that requests are submitted as soon as possible. Once you receive your ballot in the mail, you will need to return it to the board of elections, which can be done by mail or in person. When mailing the completed ballot, it must be postmarked no later than the day before the election (Nov. 2, 2020) and received no later than 10 days after the election. You can also deliver your ballot in person prior to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Election Day 2020 will look different, but you too can help the process run smoothly by signing up to be a poll worker if you are less vulnerable to the virus. Many of our older Election Day volunteers will be unable to help in November due to COVID-19 related risks, so it is a great time for young people to sign up as paid poll workers through the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
While this election will present new challenges, we must remember that our foremothers and fathers fought for our right to vote and make our voice heard. This is an important time to participate in our democracy.
PHOTOS BY ELIZABETH HALKO
Featured top photo caption: Senator Antonio at the Cuyahoga County BOE drop box at E. 30th and Euclid Avenue.