COLUMBUS – With just five weeks until Election Day, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced 2,000,489 absentee ballot applications have been received by county boards of elections statewide. This includes 24,222 requests from military and overseas voters whose absentee ballots began to be mailed two weeks ago. All other absentee ballots will be mailed beginning October 6th. Over the past week, 216,485 new absentee ballot requests were submitted by Ohio voters.
At the same time during the 2016 election, 957,260 absentee ballots had been requested. All data is current as of September 25th.
This week, Secretary LaRose issued a directive that provides clarity to Ohio voters who may have requested an absentee ballot, but may still be considering voting in person. The directive, which mirrors Ohio law, states that voters who have requested an absentee ballot but choose to vote on election day must vote by provisional ballot. However, those Ohioans who have requested an absentee ballot but choose to vote early in-person will not be required to vote by provisional ballot solely based on the fact that they requested an absentee ballot.
”We are making it easier than ever for registered Ohio voters to make their voice heard,” said LaRose. “Every voter choosing to cast their ballot from the comfort of their own home makes for an even smoother voting experience for those choosing to vote in-person on election day. It’s a win-win for everyone.”
The deadline to register to vote or update your voter registration information is October 5th, 2020. Early voting begins on October 6th, 2020.
Of the 42 states that run a traditional absentee voting system, a comprehensive review by the Brookings Institute determined no state does it better than Ohio. SOURCE: www.brookings.edu/research/voting-by-mail-in-a-pandemic-a-state-by-state-scorecard/
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.