COLUMBUS – With 49 days to go until Election Day, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that 1,398,347 absentee ballot applications have been received by county boards of elections statewide. This includes 15,806 requests from military and overseas voters whose absentee ballots will be mailed beginning this Friday, September 18th. All other ballots will be mailed beginning October 6th. Over the past week, almost 400,000 new absentee ballot requests were made by Ohio voters.
At the same time during the 2016 election, 524,631 absentee ballots had been requested. All data is current as of September 11th.
“Ohioans continue to show incredible confidence in our absentee voting system, and our county boards are well-equipped to handle the surge in requests,” said LaRose. “Whether voting early in-person, at your polling location on election day, or from the comfort of your own home, Ohioans will have their voice heard this fall.”
To prepare Ohio boards of elections for the large amount of voters requesting absentee ballots this year, Secretary LaRose sent 87% of Ohio’s $12.8 million CARES Act allocation directly to the county boards 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.