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Editorial: Register to ensure you have voice in election

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The general election is exactly one month away, but a vital deadline is even closer. Potential voters must register by Tuesday to have a voice in the election.

People who want to register in Johnson County must be at least 18 years old by Election Day, Nov. 6, and cannot currently be in prison after being convicted of a crime.

Johnson County residents can register at the voter registration office in the basement of the county courthouse in Franklin, at any license branch or online at Indianavoters.com. They also can mail a voter application to the courthouse at P.O. Box 451, Franklin, IN 46131. But that application must be postmarked by Tuesday.

If you register at a license branch, you could use that visit to obtain a state identification card if you do not have one. State law requires voters to present a government-issued photo ID card, such as a driver’s license, state ID card, passport or military ID, in order to vote. If you don’t have one, you’ll need to obtain one before going to the polls.

People who have registered in the past but have moved need to update their registration to reflect their new address. This is vital so poll workers give you the correct ballot when you sign in. You can confirm if you are properly registered or that your address is current at Indianavoters.com.

Because of the presidential race, interest in this election is high. The county voter registration office reports hundreds of new registrations nearly every week. There already are thousands more people registered in the county than were eligible to vote in the 2008 general election.

While the presidential race gets much of the attention, this year’s ballot has many competitive and important races. For instance, the Senate race became highly competitive after Sen. Richard Lugar was defeated in the primary and will be retiring.

The congressional race also is competitive, and the candidates are new to most Johnson County voters because the entire county is now in the 9th District, which stretches from County Line Road in Greenwood south to the Ohio River.

And at the end of the ballot will be school board candidates. A change in state law moved all school board elections to the fall ballot. In many districts, they had been elected during the spring primary. But legislators felt independent voters weren’t coming to the polls simply to vote for school board candidates, so those races were moved to the fall.

But to have any say in these races, you must vote. And to vote, you must be registered.

So sign up by Tuesday to ensure you have a voice in the November election.

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