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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Don't forget to register to vote!

“Can I register to vote here?” “Do you have change of address forms for voting?” The staff of the Newton Falls Public Library is always happy to answer “Yes!” to these questions. You may also get an application for an Absent Voter’s Ballot at the library.

Visit the library and ask one of the staff members at the circulation desk. Fill out the appropriate form and it will delivered to the Trumbull County Board of Elections. The deadline for registering to vote for the November 4, 2008 election is Tuesday, October 6. The form may also be filled out online at, then printed and mailed to the Trumbull County Board of Elections. The absentee ballot is also available at According to their website, these ballots may be cast beginning September 30. Mahoning and Portage County residents can find the voting information they need at both counties’ websites and public libraries.

When you go to vote, there is a new ID requirement. As a voter, you will need to provide proof of identity before voting. Acceptable forms of identification are “your current and valid photo identification card, military identification, copy of utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or government document showing your name and current address. (Note: You cannot use as proof of identification a notice the board of elections mailed to you.) If you do not have, or fail or refuse to provide, the required proof of identity, you may cast a provisional ballot.” []

Registering to vote may be the easiest part. Now, for many people, begins the more difficult; determining who to vote for. For local information, the Newton Falls Public Library receives area newspapers: Record Courier, Tribune Chronicle and Vindicator, as well as the smaller weekly papers: The Bridge, The NewTowne Press, The Review and The Weekly Villager. For national information: Christian Science Monitor, Columbus Dispatch, New York Times, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Plain Dealer, USA Today, and the Wall Street Journal are available. Places to look online for information are the League of Women Voters [], Project Vote Smart [] and the U.S. Department of State []

Intrigued by a new book on the library shelf, Declaring Independence: the beginning of the end of the two-party system by Douglas E. Schoen, we became curious about who else was running for president besides the Democrat and Republican candidates. There are numerous sites listing alternative candidates. Two that seem to have the longest lists, as well as links to their websites, are Project Vote Smart [] and Politics1 []. Among the many running, there are four independents from Ohio seeking the presidency: Donald K. Allen from Boardman [], Steve Kissing from Cincinnati [], James H. McCall from the Toledo area [], and “Average Joe” Schriner from Cleveland [].

While looking for election information, several books and websites were discovered to include odd presidential facts. The Essential Book of Presidential Trivia by Noah McCullough and The Complete Book of Presidential Trivia by J. Stephen Lang can be borrowed through the library’s shared TiPL [Trumbull Independent Public Libraries] catalog. Typing ‘presidential trivia’ into an online search engine, such as Google or Metacrawler, finds some interesting facts: this year’s election is the first time since 1928 in which neither an incumbent president nor an incumbent vice president is running for their party's nomination, and the first time since the 1952 election that neither incumbent is a candidate in the November presidential election. Neither Republican nor Democrat 2008 presidential candidate was born in the continental United States. John McCain was born on a military base in the Panama Canal Zone, and Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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