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Civic duty and COVID-19

It’s time to change our focus a bit, so that we don’t forget to do a couple of things that are very important.

Of course we must continue to keep the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 disease always at the fronts of our minds. But we should not allow it to preoccupy our minds to the point that we fail to vote or be counted in the U.S. Census.

The virus already has disrupted the primary election in Ohio to a significant degree. Residents of the Buckeye State were scheduled to go to the polls on March 17 to cast their ballots in person.

Dr. Amy Acton, director of the Ohio Department of Health, declared a public health emergency related to the pandemic that closed polling locations on that day. Subsequent court action and legislation has determined that all voting will be done by mail — and it must be completed by April 28.

In order to vote, contact your county board of elections office to request a ballot application. You can also go online to voteohio.gov to find and complete an application. Once your ballot is received, you must fill it out and mail it back to the board of elections office. All ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. April 28, so don’t delay if you haven’t started this process already.

Just as important as making your voice heard by casting a ballot is ensuring that you are counted as part of the 2020 Census. It is underway, with opportunities to respond via mail, online or by phone.

Most U.S. households were mailed an invitation to respond. If you did not get one, though, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t participate.

To take part — and to help ensure your community gets its fair share of representation and federal funding — visit my2020census.gov. One personage 15 or older from each home should respond, answering a few simple questions about everyone living in the home on April 1.

COVID-19 has been disruptive enough. SOn’t let it mar our election or the Census.

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