With the election nearing, a review of important deadlines seems in order:
Deadline to register: Monday, October 6, 2008.
Deadline to change registration address: Monday, October 6, 2008.
Absentee ballot request deadline: If by mail, must be recieved by BOE by noon on November 1, 2008. If in person, must by the end of BOE hours on November 3, 2008.
Deadline to return an absentee ballot: Must be postmarked by November 3, 2008 (and received by BOE by November 14, 2008), or delivered to BOE in person by close of the polls on November 4, 2008.
I've posted these dates because (unbelievably), I just got off the phone with someone from a local campaign who thought that the registration and absentee deadlines were the same. They are not. Monday, October 6, 2008, is your last day to register. But you can vote early in-person at the board of elections any time prior to Election Day, as long as you're a registered voter.
Things that can force you to vote with a provisional ballot: If your address has changed and you fail to report it by October 6, you will have to go to the Board of Elections on Election Day and cast a provisional ballot. Also, if you request an absentee ballot and then change your mind and show up at your polling place on Election Day, you will be required to cast an absentee ballot. Remember, provisional ballots are eventually counted, but not on Election Day.
Also, the HamCo Board of Elections has announced extended hours. On Monday, October 6, it will be open from 8 am until 8 pm. From Monday, October 13 through Friday, October 31, the BOE will be from 8 until 8 (though there's a rumor you'll have to come dressed as either Tim Burke or Alex Triantafilou if you come on the 31st). On Monday, November 3, however, it will close at 4.
The HamCo BOE's phone number is 632-7000. It's website is here.
Whether you're a Democrat, a Republican, or something else, please make sure you protect your right to vote.