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CSU students march to Board of Elections, vote early

October 11, 2012

By Sarah Shannon

By definition, early voting is the process by which the electorate cast their votes prior to an election.

That was the mission on Oct. 4, 2012.

Students rallied together in the Cleveland State plaza with a common goal — to march to the board of elections and cast their vote for president.

In the United States, all 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, have early voting.
Whether it is through absentee ballots or going to the polls, voting in the U.S. officially begins on Sept. 6 in North Carolina each election year.

Early voting in Ohio began on Oct. 2 this year.

For many years now, the state has been considered a “swing state” for presidential candidates. Meaning, the state holds weight in the electoral count.

Currently, Ohio holds 18 electoral votes. The state has lost about one-third of its electoral vote count since the 1960s.

Ohio is also a good predictor on the next president. Since 1944, Ohioans have only sided with one losing candidate and that was Nixon in 1960.

But why vote early? What is the difference in voting now or on Election Day, Nov. 6?

“There’s so many things that come up in our schedules often,” Stephanie Brown, National African American Vote Director for the Obama campaign, said. “So, if you have an opportunity to get out and go to the polls now — and bring friends with you to vote early —then go ahead and do it!”

For many, early voting is a convenience.

Tianna Nichols, a Cleveland State student, agrees.

“Around the time that elections are going on there are a lot of midterms and tests going on,” she said. “As a student, you get caught up in your work and caught up in your assignments so if you can vote early in your free time that would be a good thing to do.”

With many college students going to school far from home, even out of state, early voting is a great way for them to get their voices heard.

Voters can request absentee ballots 90 days before the date of an election. The request must be received by the voter’s local county board by noon the third day before the election — typically falling on a Saturday.

The ballot request is available online on the Ohio Secretary of State web-page (www.sos.state.oh.us). Again, another convenience for voters. Voters also have the option of voting early in person.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is located just down the street from Cleveland State on the corner of E. 30th and Euclid Avenue.

However, locations vary by county that the voter is registered in. Voters are encouraged to check with their local Board of Elections for information on location. Most counties hold in-person voting at their offices.

Hours are uniform for all early in-person voting in Ohio. The hours are also available on the Secretary of State web page.

Early voting is also a way to predict the outcome of an election.

“Voting early gives the government and the society that we have here a sense on where everyone’s headed,” Cody Luke, a Cleveland State student, said.

Dr. Michael P. McDonald, an associate professor of government and politics at George Mason University, has created a system to track all early voting in the U.S.
With this, it allows all to see which candidate holds the current lead by how many early ballots have been turned in.

As of Oct. 8, a total of 311,092 ballots have been cast in all reporting jurisdictions for McDonald’s project.

The site allows users to track the voting statistics by state. It provides a status report on early voting, an analysis of absentee ballot applications for some states, and a preview of what to expect with the 2012 early vote.

However, McDonald does provide a disclaimer on his site.

“Election officials may not report early voting statistics,” McDonald said. “I attempt to collect as much of the information about these ballots as possible. However, I do not hound election officials for these statistics because they are busy doing the important work of preparing for the upcoming election. Sometimes data will be available only at the local level. I cannot continuously scan for local data, so I appreciate tips on where to find data.”

All of his findings can be found at elections.gmu.edu.

According to Alden Morris, SGA Sophomore Senator, “Students should get out there and vote early because it’s an opportunity we should take advantage of.”

“It’s your voice,” added Luke. “Too many times with this generation everyone wants things handed to them. Honestly, it’s their choice. They get to vote for who they want and the person in office is the one that’s going to help them with their future.”