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Ohio Shatters Early Voting Records - On Election Eve, 3.4 Million Ohioans Have Already Cast Ballots

COLUMBUS – Tomorrow is Election Day! 3.4 million Ohio voters have cast their absentee ballot or voted early – shattering all previous records. Prior to this election, Ohio had never surpassed 2 million total votes in the entirety of the early voting period. With 243,023 absentee ballots still outstanding, Ohio’s early vote total is already 180 percent of the previous early vote record and equals 60 percent of the total number of votes cast in the entire 2016 General Election. This data includes all ballots received and processed through 2:00pm on Monday afternoon.

Beginning in the spring, Secretary LaRose identified poll worker recruitment, voter registration, health protocols, PPE distribution, combatting disinformation and, in order to reduce the burden on voting locations on election day, maximizing participation in early and absentee voting as the key priorities for conducting a successful election amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. These numbers show without a doubt that the goal of maximizing voter participation in early and absentee voting has been achieved. The quantifiable metrics for each of these distinct objectives makes it clear that our pandemic preparations have been a success and Ohio is ready for this election. Earlier today the Secretary shared this video illustrating the high state of preparedness Ohio has achieved as we have worked together over the last eight months.

Additional analysis of the data indicates that absentee ballots are being returned at a rate that drastically outpaces that of 2016. 2,071,699 absentee ballots have been returned to county boards of elections. In 2016, that number was essentially half that with just 1,136,728 absentee ballots returned. The doubling of the number of returned absentee ballots relative to 2016 is a very strong indicator that election mail is moving quickly and the expansion of secure drop boxes to every county board of elections for the first time in a general election, as ordered by the Secretary of State, has made it easier than ever for voters to return their ballots. 

Absentee ballot requests increased by 612,241to a total of 3,785,827requests received by county boards of elections statewide. The total number of absentee ballots requested includes 26,488 requests from military and overseas voters. At the same time during the 2016 election, 1,994,911 absentee ballots had been requested. 243,023 outstanding absentee ballots have not yet been returned to their county board of elections. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by today, November 2nd or delivered to the voter’s respective county board of elections by 7:30pm on November 3rd.

Ohio voters enjoy more hours for early in-person voting than voters in 43 other states. As of Monday afternoon, 1,339,764 Ohioans have voted early in-person. For comparison, at the same point in 2016, 661,549 voters had visited their early vote center to cast their ballot.

“Ohioans have refused to listen to the fear mongers who have spent months trying to convince them that it’s hard to vote – they’re proving it’s easy with every record broken,” said LaRose. “As ballots mailed on time continue to come in over the next ten days, Ohioans should rest assured that each legally cast ballot will be counted and their voice will be heard.”

 

County-by-county data may be found by clicking here (XLSX).

All absentee ballots received by the county board of elections by the close of polls on November 3rd will be included in the unofficial vote totals released on election night. Outstanding ballots that are postmarked by November 2nd and received by the county board of elections within 10 days after the election will be included in the final official results that are released in late November. Every properly cast ballot will be counted. Boards of Elections must contact and can help voters correct any issues with their respective ballot up until the 7th day after the election. The Ohio Secretary of State must certify the official election results by November 28th.

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.

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.

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. 

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Media Contact

Maggie Sheehan
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614.466.2729