Monday, March 3, 2008

Make Your Vote Count

by Alissa Griffith

Super Tuesday Two.
The Ultimate Showdown.
The Primary Prize.
Make or Break Tuesday.
Just Another Day.

No matter what you call it, tomorrow's primary is a big deal for Democrats in Ohio.
Polls show Senator Hillary Clinton is ahead of Senator Barack Obama in the heart of it all by anywhere from four to 15 percentage points, depending on the poll.

Listen to some of Michelle Obama's speech at Ohio University

Family Visitation
However, both campaigns have been aggressively stumping across the state in the last few weeks and last week the focus was Southeast Ohio. Bill Clinton, Chelsea Clinton, Michelle Obama, and Barack Obama have all been to Athens County within the past seven days hoping to secure those undecided votes.

Starting tomorrow, the state will find out if the relentless campaigning has paid off for either candidates. No matter who wins Tuesday, this will be one for the history books. In Athens County, the early voters (including absentee) have set a new record. Debbie Quivey, the director of Athens County Board of Elections says, "Four years ago, we had 916 people request [to early vote]. As of right now, we have 2,435 people that have requested [to early vote] so we almost tripled that. We have 2,066 ballots that have been turned in already."

Listen to Chelsea Clinton answer a question about healthcare at Ohio University

First time voters
If you have never voted in a primary (or just haven't in a long time). Here are some things for you to remember:

1. Don't forget your ID
Bring your state-issued ID, military identification, copy of a utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document showing your name and current address. You cannot use as proof of identification a notice that the board of elections mailed to you.

2. Get there in time
Polls open tomorrow at 6:30am and close at 7:30pm. If you are in by 7:30pm, you have a right to vote.

3. Go to the right place
Cast your ballot at your precinct's designated polling place. If you are not registered in Athens county, cast at a provisional ballot at the board of elections or the second floor in Baker University Center.

4. Forget about party, vote for whomever you want
Ohio has an open primary, so you can vote the primary ballot of your choice. If you voted the primary ballot of a different political party in 2005 or 2006, you will complete a statement at your polling place confirming the change in your political party affiliation.

5. Get help
You can bring someone to help you (who is unaffiliated with the candidates) or ask a poll worker to help you.

6. Get the results
Watch Athens MidDay Wednesday at noon for complete coverage of the primary races, including local races for Sheriff and County Prosecutor.

What's at stake?
Even with all of this campaigning and news coverage, this is still just a primary election. The presidential election is not until November 4th. However, this primary is important. If Clinton wins both Ohio and Texas, the experts say she will effectively halt Obama's momentum (he has won the past 11 states in the primaries). If Obama wins, political analysts say that may be enough to prove to the superdelegates he has not yet secured that he is the party's front-runner. If it is too close to call, the Democratic National Convention in August might be the only way for voters to find out who is the front-runner.

So get out to vote on Tuesday, March 4th and make your vote count!

How do you feel about campaigns recent focus on Southeastern Ohio?

Ohio University Student LaNisha Williams

Athens Resident Kim Williams

Ohio University Student Veronica Jones

No comments: