Voter registration deadline fast approaching

Time is running out for area residents looking to register to vote in the upcoming November election, as the clock winds down to what promises to be a close presidential contest.The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 6 election — which will cover a number of local elections, as well as the much-anticipated presidential contest — is Oct. 9, according to Howard County Election Administrator Saundra Bloom.“The registration deadline for any election is 30 days prior to the election day,” said Bloom. “If they haven’t received their card or aren’t sure if they’re registered, all they have to do is come by the office. They can fill out the voter registration application and their card should be mailed to them in time for the November election.“For those that can’t get out, they can call us and we’ll mail them the form. They can fill it out and just mail it back to us. It’s a very easy process.”Bloom said her office began accepting requests for mail-in ballots in early September, with the deadline for requests set to expire Oct. 30. However, she warns against procrastinating.“I would encourage everyone to get their applications in as soon as possible,” said Bloom. “If you’re 65 years old or older, disabled, confined to jail or you know you will be out of the county for the election, you can apply for a ballot by mail. They can write us a letter or send us a request by fax or e-mail.”According to Bloom, requests for a mail out ballot must include the voter’s name, address of residence inside Howard County, the reason for their request and the address the ballot should be mailed to.If the reason for requesting a mail out ballot is the voter will be out of the county during the election, Bloom said the ballot must be mailed to an address outside Howard County, as well as mailed back from outside the county.“We’re hoping this will help our college students, military and voters temporarily working out of the county,” said Bloom.Early voting in the election will begin Oct. 22 and end Nov. 2. Early voting will be held in the Elections Administrations Office, located on the third floor of the county courthouse.For more information on voter registration in Howard County, contact Bloom at 264-2273.