If you want a say in the Presidential election or local races, but are not a registered voter, you had better act soon. Time is running out to register for the Nov. 6 General Election.
Tuesday, Oct. 9, is the last day to register to vote in the fall election. People who want to register can get forms and assistance at any county clerk's office before the close of business on Oct. 9. Online voter registration is available at the website www.voterview.org.
Youth who are 18 or older, or will turn 18 before the Nov. 6 election are eligible to register.
Fulton County Clerk Vickie Bishop said, in addition to new voters, those who have had a change of address since the spring primary need to get their records updated to determine whether their polling place has changed.
"People who have had a change of address need to call or come into the office," Bishop said. "People should not wait until election day. Voting is usually heavier in a Presidential election year, and an address issue can cause a hold up in voting."
According to Bishop, her office has received an increase in new registrations in recent weeks, and she hopes those who intend to vote but are not registered follow through and contact her office by the Oct. 9 deadline.
"I don't think registrations have been as heavy as past years, but we have had a steady stream of new registrations," Izard County Clerk Rhonda Halbrook said. Halbrook added her office also accepts calls from registered voters to update their records, if their address has changed.
Absentee ballots for the November election are also now available for those who will be "unavoidably absent" from their polling place on election day. People who need to vote by absentee ballot can request that a ballot application be mailed to them, or they can get applications from any clerks office. Oct. 30 is the deadline to apply for an absentee ballot.
Early voting for the November election will begin on Monday, Oct. 22, and will continue until Nov. 5. County clerks' offices will conduct early voting between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and will offer Saturday hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Voter View, a website offered by the Secretary of State's office, is a fast and easy way for unregistered voters to find out about voter registration requirements, and fill out a voter registration form. Registered voters can use the website to check their voter registration information, and to see a sample ballot.
The address to access the website is www.voterview.org. By putting in your name and birthdate, you can see the address you used to register, and what precinct and polling place you are assigned. Another click of the mouse will bring up a sample ballot, showing the specific offices you will be voting on, and who is running for each office.
Looking at the Voter View online sample ballot in advance is a good place to read the five ballot issues to be decided by votes in the fall election. Two involve tax matters, two seek to allow specific corporations to operate gambling casinos in the state and the fifth ballot issue seeks to legalize the use of medical marijuana.
"It's really a neat website because you can look at it in advance, and, if you know who you're going to vote for when you arrive at your polling place, it won't take as much time to vote."
According to Bishop, being an informed voter who can vote quickly will help keep the lines at polling places moving, especially in a Presidential election year when a large turnout of voters is expected.
For voter information, contact the Fulton County Clerk's office at 895-3310. The number for the Izard County Clerk is 368-4316.