Students encouraged to confirm voter registration

Brock Harrington

Those who have not received card will need to register again

During the first week of the semester, many Kent State students decided to register to vote in Portage County.

Students filled out the form and received instant gratification for believing they’re a legal voter, but unless they received their voter registration card within two weeks, these students will be surprised come Nov. 4.

According to Ohio law, the county’s board of elections must register an individual to vote no later than 20 business days after the initial registration form was received. The voter is then sent a card revealing the polling location and the voting precinct.

The board of elections can deny a person’s registration, but the county must notify the applicant immediately.

Also, students who registered last spring before Ohio’s March primaries, but changed addresses, are also currently not registered to vote.

With registration numbers down compared to 2004, according to Portage County Board of Elections’ deputy director Lois Enlow, the fear is that some students’ forms have been lost or were never turned into the numerous registration drop-offs in the county.

With many student organizations driving students to vote, along with the several other off-campus groups participating in voter drives, Donna Carlton, assistant director of student involvement, said she didn’t know how many different groups have been on campus. Carlton has not heard of any complaints by students who have not received their voter card, but stressed that more than just student groups – such as fraternities – have been handing out registration forms.

If individuals have not received their voter registration card in the mail, then they must re-register with the county. Students can check their registration status at the Ohio Secretary of State’s Web site at:

Enlow said there are 6,000 new voters registered in the county, but around 60 people registered Monday and around 160 new voters registered Tuesday and Wednesday of this week.

Officials are stressing for students who believe they’re not registered to fill out another form before the 9 p.m. deadline Monday.

“I know the board of elections wants every student registered who wants to vote,” said Barb Hipsman, president of the League of Women voters. The Portage County Board of Elections would rather have two registration forms from one person than none at all, Hipsman said.

“Better safe than sorry, (because) it won’t be fixable on Election Day,” Hipsman said.

The easiest location for students to turn in their registrations forms is the University Library.

Contact public affairs reporter Brock Harrington at [email protected].