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Ohio Primary Could Tip Scales: Are You Registered to Vote?

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Ohio's March 15 primary could be a tie-breaker for the presidential contenders. (Eric (HASH) Hersman/Flickr)
Ohio's March 15 primary could be a tie-breaker for the presidential contenders. (Eric (HASH) Hersman/Flickr)
 By Mary KuhlmanContact
February 15, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio - While Ohio is typically a "must-win" state in presidential elections, this year's primary may also put the state in a significant position. But Ohioans who want to have a say in the March 15 primary need to make sure they are registered to vote by tomorrow.

Executive director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio Carrie Davis says with no clear front runner among the contenders, Ohio's "winner-take-all" primary could be a tie-breaker.

"Ohio's primary is the first state at which with whichever candidate wins gets all the delegates, instead of just a proportion," says Davis. "So if the presidential primary contenders are still running neck-and-neck when the primary rolls around in Ohio, winning all the delegates could help tip the scales."

Early voting in person and by mail begins Wednesday, Feb. 17, the day after voter registration ends. On primary day, polls will be open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Ohioans can check their voter registration online at myohiovote.com.

It's not just new voters who should make sure they are registered, says Catherine Turcer policy analyst with Common Cause Ohio. She says all voters need to review their information in order to maximize the state's influence in choosing the next president.

"Sometimes people think they're registered to vote but they've moved," Turcer says. "And so it's important to check to make sure that you are in fact registered to vote or you won't be able to participate in this important primary."

Turcer says another important reason for people to vote in the primary is there are seven Ohio legislative races where candidates from only one party are running. She says the March 15 winner would likely go uncontested, easily taking the November election.

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