There's no questioning Ohio's importance this presidential election. Just look at the amount of time the presidential campaigns are spending in the Buckeye State.
Since July 2011, GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign has made 26 visits, 20 of which have been made by Romney, according to the campaign. Romney's running mate, U.S. Congressman from Wisconsin Paul Ryan, has been in Ohio six times.
Over about the same period, either President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden or First Lady Michelle Obama have 19 campaign visits in Ohio under their belts. The visits often include stops at multiple locations.
Mixed in have been a handful of official visits by the president, vice president and first lady, but since May, all the stops in Ohio have been of the campaign variety.
And a helping of that attention has been paid to the Mahoning Valley.
The vice president has led the way for Democrats on the trail locally, visiting Mahoning County on May 16 and Trumbull and Mahoning counties on Aug. 31. The president campaigned in Mahoning County on July 6.
Romney campaigned in Youngstown the day before the March primary election, but hasn't been back to the Valley since.
Ryan has been here though, but only briefly for a lunchtime stop at the Hot Dog Shoppe in Warren on Aug. 16.
I'll be voting from the comfort of my living room this election.
I filled out and dropped in the mail the application to request an absentee ballot from the Trumbull County Board of Elections.
The application was sent by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, and all Ohioans registered to vote as of July 30 received one.
It took about two minutes to complete: Last four digits of my Social Security number; telephone number, which was optional, but I included it; date of birth; and then sign and date. That's it, that's all.
A return envelope was provided, but you have to provide the stamp.
The application was the first of two installments that will be sent out by Husted's office. The first covered voters on the rolls as of July 30 and the second, which will be sent during the first week of October, will bring in those who registered to vote since the first mailing or have updated their voting information.
Absentee ballot applications must be returned to your board of elections by noon Nov. 3. Early voting in Ohio begins Sept. 22 for military and overseas voters and Oct. 2 for the rest of us registered voters.
But for those of you who prefer the traditional way of voting, at your local polling place, Election Day is Nov. 6. Polls will open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Early, in-person voting at the elections board also is available.