COLUMBUS – With 55 days to go until Election Day, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that 1,000,579 absentee ballot applications have been received by county boards of elections statewide. This includes 14,253 requests from military and overseas voters whose absentee ballots will be mailed beginning Friday, September 18th. All other ballots will be mailed beginning October 6th.
Ohio didn’t break the one million absentee ballot request threshold until 28 days before election day in 2016. All data is current as of September 4th.
“While we’re making sure voters will be able to safely vote in-person, this incredible demand for absentee voting speaks to the confidence Ohioans have in the system,” said LaRose. “It’s strong. It’s secure. And our county boards of elections are prepared.”
In July, Secretary LaRose sent 87% of Ohio’s $12.8 million CARES Act allocation directly to the county boards of elections to strengthen their election infrastructure, hire temporary personnel, and more.
Ohioans can learn more about absentee voting at VoteOhio.gov.
Voters should consider these best practices when they choose the absentee ballot option:
- Fill in the information properly. Review the form to ensure you have filled it out properly, including writing your date of birth where required, not the day’s date, as well as signing your request form.
- Include your e-mail and/or phone number. For the first time in a general election, county board of elections will be calling or e-mailing voters who may need to remedy information on their ballot request form or absentee ballot envelope. Including your information will ensure you can be reached if your ballot request doesn’t have everything filled out properly.
- Don’t wait. To accommodate necessary processing time at the county board of elections and the time required for the United States Postal Service to deliver elections mail, voters should not procrastinate – fill out and mail your absentee ballot request as soon as possible. Note that, by law, ballots are not sent out (other than for overseas voters) until October 6th.
- Double check your return envelope. Before you submit your ballot request form, make sure the envelope is addressed to your county board of elections.
- Track your ballot. Once their ballot request is received by their county board of elections, voters may track their ballot at VoteOhio.gov/Track. As long as your ballot is postmarked by the day before the election and received within 10 days after the election at your county board of elections, your vote will be tabulated.
Absentee voting in Ohio is time-tested and has strong security checks in place.
Ohioans have utilized absentee voting for nearly two decades, and that has allowed Ohio to put in place both the laws and processes necessary to make absentee voting secure against fraud.
- Voter identification and signature are checked TWICE during the process
- Voter list maintenance allows for accurate voter rolls
- Ballot harvesting is against the law in Ohio
- Voters are able to track their ballot on VoteOhio.gov/Track
These requirements and processes, as well as strict laws against voter fraud, have made absentee voting secure in Ohio and instances of voter fraud exceedingly rare.
Holding the United States Postal Service Accountable.
During the primary, the USPS committed to implementing the following protocols at the urging of Secretary LaRose. It’s our understanding that these improvements will be continued this fall:
- USPS will institute “all clear” processes at each sorting facility to ensure all election mail is processed each day.
- Staff will recheck collection bins each day to ensure late arriving ballots are retrieved.
- USPS will set up hand-to-hand delivery for election mail as it makes its way through processing on the Saturday prior to Election Day, from the board of elections to the distribution center.
- Postal facilities will track election mail deliveries to Ohio’s boards of elections
- Election mail will not be routed through the Detroit Regional Distribution Center. Instead it will be kept in-state.
On September 14th, the Ohio Controlling Board will consider LaRose’s plan to use his own internal budget to pay for postage on all absentee ballots. The proposal is supported by the bipartisan Ohio Association of Election Officials and has had widespread support from both Republicans and Democrats.
Poll Worker Tracker Updated
In a second update to the Poll Worker Tracker announced last week, full county-by-county data from Ohio’s 88 county board of elections can be viewed by clicking here: PollWorkerTracker.OhioSoS.gov.
- Goal for Committed and Trained Poll Workers: 55,588
- Minimum Poll Workers Required to Operate: 37,057
- Current Number of Committed Poll Workers: 43,937
- Remaining Number of Poll Workers Needed to Meet Goal: 22,590
The remaining number of poll workers needed to meet goal is more than the difference between the goal number and committed number because of Party requirements for poll workers. For example, a county may have many more committed Republican poll workers than Democratic poll workers, so while the county’s total committed poll workers are high, many more Democratic poll workers are needed to meet their goal.
Recruitment materials and the form to sign up to serve as a poll worker can be found at VoteOhio.gov/DefendDemocracy.