COLUMBUS – With 14 days until Election Day, Ohioans continue to vote early in record numbers – with 1.1 million Ohioans already casting their ballot for the 2020 general election. That’s 119% the rate seen in 2016. Nearly triple the number of Ohioans are voting early in-person compared to the same time in 2016.
Additional analysis of the data also indicates that absentee ballots are being returned at a rate that drastically outpaces that of 2016. 675,231 absentee ballots have already been returned to county boards of elections. In 2016, that number was essentially half that with just 344,314 absentee ballots returned. The doubling of the number of returned absentee ballots relative to 2016 is a very strong indicator that the mail is working quickly and Ohioans are easily able to cast their ballots.
Absentee ballot requests increased by 275,135 to a total of 2,745,403 requests received by county boards of elections statewide. That means more than 1 out of 3 registered Ohioans have requested the opportunity to vote early. The total absentee ballots requested includes 24,824 requests from military and overseas voters. At the same time during the 2016 election, 1,412,718 absentee ballots had been requested.
"Inspiring. There’s no other word for it,” said LaRose. “With two weeks until election day, our record-breaking turnout is sending a message – it’s easy to vote in Ohio.”
In order to relieve pressure and increase voter safety on election day, Secretary LaRose and county election officials made emphasizing early voting a priority over the past several months. The record-breaking numbers are clear evidence that the Secretary’s efforts are being realized.
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.
- 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.