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Prepare to participate in March 17 vote in Ohio

A presidential election will define the political climate of 2020, with more than a half dozen serious contenders on the Democratic side and President Donald Trump the presumed Republican nominee.

What some area residents may not realize, though, is that time to ensure you can participate in the process is running short.

In Ohio, primary Election Day is March 17 — less than two months away. This represents a change from non-presidential years, when our primaries are typically held in May.

On March 17, there will be more to consider than who you would prefer to see as the nation’s next top executive. On the ballot, county commission races will be featured alongside those for other offices, such as county sheriffs and state and federal legislators.

Although choosing a president is a very big deal, it also is important for residents to weigh in on who they want making federal laws.

Selecting the most qualified, experienced and engaging law enforcement officer for your county likely will have a bigger impact on your daily life than those races for offices in the nation’s capital. And having a say in which men and women will make state laws that regulate industry, the environment, local schools and much more could also affect you quite directly over the next four years or so.

That is why we urge all our readers who are eligible to make sure they are registered to vote. If you are at least 18 years old, a citizen of the United States and will be a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days prior to the election, you are eligible to cast a ballot.

In order to do so in the primary election, however, you must be registered to vote no later than Feb. 18.

To check your registration status, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website at ohiosos.gov. Click the Elections & Voting tab, then the Voters:VoteOhio.gov button and follow the appropriate link. You can also find the forms and directions that are needed to register to vote at this online location. Once completed, that information can be turned in at your county board of elections office.

Once you are registered to vote, early absentee voting by in person at your local board of elections or by mail both begin on Feb. 19. On Election Day, polling locations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., offering several options and plenty of time for you to cast your ballot.

Voter participation is a key to making our democracy work. We encourage all eligible voters to get informed and take part.

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