The deadline to register to vote in the March 17 Ohio Primary is rapidly approaching, coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 18.
Meanwhile, early in-person absentee voting begins the day after that deadline, on Wednesday, Feb. 19. You can find the Athens County Board of Elections' hours for early voting on its website.
Meanwhile, you can get registered to vote by going to https://olvr.ohiosos.gov/, or by going to the Athens County Board of Elections on South Court Street in Athens.
The Democrat primary ballot features several locally contested races, as well as the all-important national Democratic presidential primary, with candidates Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Joe Biden, Mike Bloomberg, Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Steyer still in the race (although there’s no telling who might drop out between now and March 17).
In other news, two central Ohio Democrats will face each other for the nomination to run against incumbent 15th District U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington): Daniel Kilgore and Joel Newby. You can read more about those candidates here. Stivers faces a challenge from Shelby X. Hunt of Pickerington in the GOP Primary.
There are also several contested local races in Athens County.
Local attorney and Athens City School Board member Rusty Rittenhouse is facing Assistant Athens County Prosecutor Zach Saunders for the Democratic nomination for the Athens County Common Pleas Court probate/juvenile judgeship. Meanwhile, Athens lawyer Kenneth E. Ryan, who until recently served on the Athens County Board of Elections, faces local lawyer Scott M. Robe for the Republican nomination for that seat.
Athens County Treasurer Ric Wasserman is being challenged in the Democratic primary for the treasurer position by Athens City Council at-large member Pete Kotses (no Republicans filed to run for that position).
Meanwhile, there are contested races in:
• Ohio House District 78, which includes part of northern Athens County. Currently occupied by Ohio House Rep. Ron Hood, R-Ashville, who is term-limited. Running in the Republican primary are Brian Stewart, Ashville; Bobby Mitchell, Canal Winchester; and Aaron Adams, Kingston. Democrat Charlotte Owens of Lithopolis is running unopposed.
• U.S. House District 6, which includes part of eastern Athens County. Currently occupied by Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, who has filed for re-election. He faces Kenneth Morgan of Chesapeake in the GOP primary. Shawna Roberts of Belmont is running unopposed in the Democratic primary.
There is no longer a contested race for Ohio’s 94th House District seat occupied by Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville. His Democrat challenger was disqualified from that race earlier this month, although there's still time for an Independent challenger to file to run for that seat.