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Local voters: Some minds are made up

October 1, 2012
By Jasmine Rogers - The Marietta Times (jrogers@mariettatimes.com) , The Marietta Times

Just over a month stands between voters and the November presidential election.

This week will mark the start of the presidential debates, but many area residents have already made their decisions about their vote. Some residents have firmly committed to a candidate, while others have decided to not vote at all.

"I'm just not interested," said Zeb Zumbro, 19, of Morgan County.

Zumbro and 18-year-old Beverly residents Braden Burer and Anthony Duskey have all chosen not to register to vote this year.

"I don't care about it. We're too young," shrugged Burer.

Despite these pockets of apathy, the Washington County Board of Elections has been handling an increasing amount of voter registrations lately, said Board of Elections Director Tara Hupp.

Fact Box

Washington

County voter snapshot

Registered voters for 2008 Presidential election: 41,664.

Voted in 2008 Presidential election: 30,538 (73.3%).

Current registered voters: 42,573 (2.2% increase since 2008).

Registered nonpartisan: 28,268 (66.4%).

Registered Democrat: 4,372 (10.3%).

Registered Republican: 9,894 (23.2%).

Voted for Republican candidate in 2008: 17,019 (56.86%).

Voted for Democratic candidate in 2008: 12,368 (41.32%).

"We've been getting in quite a few. A lot of them are updates or changes," she said.

The Ohio voter registration deadline is just more than a week away, and there are several ways to register.

"We have been appearing at the League of Women Voters' debates. We always promote in the paper and on the radio. We have designated agencies that provide voter registration forms. And anyone can come to the office," said Hupp.

The board also helps students register to vote at both Marietta and Washington State Community State Colleges. For 18-year-old Washington State student Anna Burns, the ability to register at her college was very helpful.

"With everyday life and busy schedules, it is hard to get down to the courthouse to register," said Burns.

Waterford resident Shanaine Huck, 18, has for a couple of weeks known who she is going to vote for in November.

"It's the issues mostly," said Huck, of her decision, but preferred not to say who she was going to vote for.

Statistically, presidential elections bring out more voters than primaries or off-year elections, but this year's March primary brought out just over half of the voters who participated in the 2008 primary.

Though well over half of Washington County residents are not officially affiliated with a party through the Washington County Board of Elections, this is not a good indicator of party sympathies through the county, said Hupp.

"In Ohio, a voter can only officially declare a party affiliation by voting in that party's primary," said Hupp.

Therefore, if it has been more than two years since a voter participated in a primary, his or her party affiliation status has been reset to nonpartisan, she explained.

In the past three presidential elections, Washington County has firmly favored the Republican candidate. In both 2000 and 2004, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush received approximately 58 percent of the county's votes.

In 2008, Republican candidate John McCain won 57 percent of the votes in the county. President Barack Obama only received a majority of votes in 12 of the county's 56 precincts, eight of which were inside the city of Marietta.

Waterford resident Erica Wilson is one resident leaning toward the Republican nominee, but she has not made her final decision yet.

"It will probably be Mitt Romney. But I'm really not a fan of either of them," she said.

Eighteen-year-old Allyson Spence is not leaning toward either candidate yet, but does plan on voting.

Spence said she will rely on influences and opinions from people around her, such as her parents and friends, to help her make up her mind over the next few weeks.

As the clock winds down, the board of elections is also working to clear up any misunderstanding voters might have about the upcoming election. For example, some people have asked if they can vote in the general election even if they skipped the primary, said Hupp.

"Anybody as long as they are a registered voter in Ohio and Washington County may vote in the general election in Washington County," she said.

Those not registered still have time. Potential voters can print a voter registration form by visiting The Washington County Board of Elections' website, www.electionsonthe.net/oh/washington, and clicking "Voter Registration" in the left column.

Registration must be postmarked by Oct. 9 to be eligible to vote in the November election.

People who have questions about voting or the upcoming election can contact the Washington County Board of Elections at 374-6828. The board's Website also has sample ballots and information on polling locations and issues available.

 
 
 

 

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