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An important part in the voting process

Tuesday will be important as the countdown continues to the Nov. 3 election.

It’s National Voter Registration Day, and it offers a good reminder of how critical it is to be prepared to participate in the election process.

Falling each year on the fourth Tuesday of September, the initiative was started in 2012 by the National Association of Secretaries of State. More than 300,000 Americans registered to vote during that inaugural event, a number that grew to 800,000 in 2018.

It’s an event that is nationwide in scope, but places the emphasis on local involvement.

For example, the Jefferson County Board of Elections will have a presence Tuesday at the Main Branch of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County at 407 S. Fourth St. in Steubenville. Representatives will be on hand between 10 a.m. and noon to help those who are interested in registering and to answer questions.

If you already are registered to vote, good for you. If you are not, here’s a sobering statistic: Almost 92 million eligible Americans did not vote in the 2016 election. That’s according to the World Population Review, which also reports 68.3 percent of eligible Ohioans are registered, 65.2 percent of eligible Pennsylvanians are registered and 63.4 percent of eligible West Virginians are registered.

Those who aren’t registered still have time to do so. In Ohio, the deadline to register for the Nov. 3 election is Oct. 5, with absentee and in-person early voting scheduled to start on Oct. 6. In West Virginia, the registration deadline is Oct. 13, with early voting running between Oct. 21 and 31. In Pennsylvania, the last day to register is Oct. 19.

Being registered to vote is important, but that is only one step in the process.

Remember — taking part in rallies and other events, writing letters to the editor, placing signs in your yard or attaching them to your vehicle, helping candidates campaign, discussing issues among friends while enjoying morning coffee at a local restaurant, volunteering at your party’s campaign headquarters — all of that is important, too, but none of it means anything if you don’t cast your ballot.

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