YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Americans have the right to vote, but some don’t use that right until there’s a big election.
Those voters who are ready to go to the polls for this presidential race could be disappointed if it has been a long time since they have been there.
Mahoning County Board of Elections IT Manager Chris Rakocy said those who haven’t voted in two federal elections will receive a notice. If the County Board of Elections doesn’t receive a response or any voting activity for two elections after that — eight years of inactivity — the voter would be taken off the rolls.
“If they voted in 2012, they’re fine. If they can’t remember whether they voted in 2012, best thing to do is call us,” said Mahoning County Board of Elections Director Joyce Kale-Pesta.
The state wants to change its system to six years of inactivity, instead of eight, but it’s being challenged in a lawsuit. Ohio supplies to the county board of elections files of people who may have moved and also non-voters.
The county sends a change of address mailing, telling people to verify their address and voting status. That’s federal law, which started in 1995.
Mahoning County sent about 14,000 of those mailers last year before 9,485 names from were taken off the voter rolls.
“If we send them this NCOA (Notice of Change of Address) and update our files before Election Day, they can vote a regular ballot on Election Day instead of a provisional ballot on Election Day. So the process for them is much easier,” Kale-Pesta said.
A provisional ballot lets you cast a vote, but it will be at least 10 days before it’s processed to determine whether it’s valid.
If it has been awhile since you voted, the best thing you can do is check with your County Board of Elections.