Primary voter registration deadline nears

Timothy Magaw

Credit: DKS Editors

The deadline to register to vote for the March 4 primary election is Monday, and Lois Enlow, director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said it’s important for students to remember to re-register if they have moved.

“We know that students move a lot, generally at least every year they come back to campus,” she said. “Sometimes more frequently than that. Every time you change your residence, you need to fill out a new form.”

Enlow said even when students just switch residence halls on campus, it’s a good idea to re-register.

“It will save them a lot of time when they go to the polls,” she said. “They won’t have to fill out a lot of paperwork. They’re just going to have to come in, show some identification, sign in and cast their ballot.”

If a student forgets to register with his or her new address but is a registered voter in Ohio, all he or she needs to do is call the Board of Elections and provide the address of his or her new residence, Enlow said. The Board will provide the voter with a new polling location if it has changed, so he or she can fill out a provisional ballot. The voter also has the option of voting at the Board of Elections office, which is located in Ravenna.

“We count provisional ballots. There’s a lot of misconception in the public that we don’t count provisional ballots,” Enlow said, adding that the vote is counted after the Board verifies the person’s new address.

Kent Mayor John Fender said a very low number of students actually vote in Kent, but he would like to see that number increase. Fender said the turnout in some wards where students predominantly live is particularly low, such as Ward 4 where a council seat can be won sometimes with fewer than 70 votes.

“I think if you’re a resident, you should definitely vote in Kent,” Fender said. “Hopefully, it’s looked upon as a right and a responsibility.”

If students are concerned about something that’s happening locally, it’s important they vote, Fender said.

“I think there are people that sometimes do not vote and feel their vote is worthless because of the great numbers of voters,” he said. “They may take on the persona of complaining of our local, state or national government. I think that if you don’t vote, you can still complain, but the complaint, in my estimation, becomes a little more shallow.”

Nena Hankins, treasurer for League of Women’s Voters of Kent, said students living off campus should be concerned with city government, especially when it comes to different issues such as noise ordinances.

“I don’t think that (students) are totally oblivious to what’s happening,” she said. “I think if students are paying rent and something like that, they have something to say.”

Hankins also said some Kent residents may be concerned with students voting in the city, especially on tax issues because they think the students aren’t contributing. But Hankins thinks otherwise.



• University Library’s circulation desk

•Portage County libraries

• Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices

• County high schools

•Portage County Treasurer

• Portage County Court of Common Please

• Portage County Probate Court


Portage County Board of Elections

Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday

Phone: (330) 297-3511

Address: 449 South Meridian St.

Portage County Administration Building, First Floor

Ravenna, Ohio 44266

“If you’re working in the city, if you’re paying rent in the city, you are contributing,” she said.

Contact public affairs reporter Timothy Magaw at [email protected].