Down to the wire on registration deadline

Jackie Valley

About 340 sign up to vote at University Library yesterday

With just minutes to spare, self-proclaimed procrastinator Marell Harrell, junior sports management major, turned in his voter registration form at 8:48 p.m. in the University Library.

Harrell joined eight other people registering to vote in the last 15 minutes before the 9 p.m. deadline. But despite voting in the 2004 presidential election, Harrell said he has not decided whether he will cast his ballot come Nov. 4.

“I just registered so that when Election Day comes, I at least now have the ability to do it,” he said.

Joseph Salem, head of reference and government information services, said about 340 people registered to vote yesterday at the library, which was one of 15 official voter registration locations in Portage County.

“I was hoping there wouldn’t be a big line (at the deadline), but it’s been steady all night,” he said.

In the past two weeks, Salem said about as many people registered to vote in the library as did during the entire voter registration drive in 2004. He did not yet have an estimate for the total number of people registered this year.

Now, Salem said, it’s time to turn the attention toward getting registered voters to the polls on Election Day.

“Typically, 18- to 20-year-olds are great at registering but terrible at voting,” he said.

Sophomore Matt Petruso, however, changed his voter registration address to Kent last night so he does not miss his opportunity to vote.

“I was actually planning to go back to Cincinnati to vote,” said Petruso, an integrated life science major. “It’s a four-hour drive, and I can’t do that on a Tuesday.”

To spur students to the polls, Salem said the library’s election Web site,, will switch from registration to voting information today. The site will include precinct information and absentee ballot requests.

People who are registered to vote can still request absentee ballots. Salem said the library will help students do so until around Oct. 20 to allow enough time for the absentee ballots to be sent, filled out and sent back to the boards of elections.

Contact public affairs reporter Jackie Valley at [email protected].