Since we all know Tuesday's election is the most important in a generation, if not since George Washington was first elected in 1789, everyone's sweating the small details. Some are even predicting hand-to-hand combat in certain precincts over whether anyone will be turned away as ineligible to vote.
Here's a quick primer on key Election Day questions.
PROVISIONAL BALLOTS are creating a lot of angst this year due to the news that the Republican Party is planning to station lawyers in some urban precincts to challenge whether voters are in the correct poll locations. Based on the Florida debacle in 2000, that news is being interpreted to mean there's a conspiracy afoot to bar large numbers of black Cincinnatians from voting.
Board of Elections officials are asking everyone to take a deep breath and do a little preparation ahead of time. The first thing to know is you have to vote in the precinct where you currently live. Go to the board's Web site (www.hamilton-co.org/BOE) and type in your street address; not only will you find out where to vote, but you can also preview the actual ballot. Or call the Board of Elections at 513-632-7000 before Election Day, and they'll find your poll location.
If you do all this, show up Tuesday at the right place and they don't have you listed, just sign in, add your current address and vote via provisional ballot.
If you're in the wrong place after all, poll workers can access a database to tell you where your correct precinct is and how to get there.
If you're in the wrong place and don't want to go to the right place, you'll be able to vote via provisional ballot, but not until you sign something that says you understand that your vote won't count if it turns out you're in the wrong place. So go to the right precinct.
WRITE-IN VOTES for Hamilton County Prosecutor must be handwritten legibly in any manner (pen, pencil, etc.), but stickers, stamps or pre-printed labels won't count. All that's required is the candidate's last name (Rucker or Deters), and while correct spelling isn't necessary the Board of Elections must be able to clearly understand the voter's intent — i.e., don't just write "R" and some squiggles since that could mean "Republican," which would be Deters.
CITYBEAT'S ELECTION 2004 ARCHIVES offer background on these and other election issues, with more than 80 articles, editorials and columns at citybeat.com/special/election2004.html.
ELECTION RESULTS will come in after CityBeat's Tuesday evening deadline for printing next week's paper, so look for interviews with winners and losers and analysis of what it all means at citybeat.com on Nov. 3.