Early voting: When, where and what you need to know for November election

Credit: DaytonDailyNews


Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Early voting began Oct. 5 for the Nov. 2 election. The election has more than 500 Dayton-area candidates running for positions on local councils, trustee boards, and school boards.

Voters can cast votes by absentee voting by mail or in-person. The November election not only decides local races, but it will also decide if taxpayer money is used to build new schools, jails, roads, or bridges in some communities or be used to renew operating levies for police, fire, and mental health agencies.

ExploreVoter Guide: Complete look at the Dayton area's contested races

In general, county election officials expect better turnout than in the spring 2021 primaries, but not approaching the historic totals seen in the November 2020 general election. And voters’ liking for mail-in ballots or in-person early voting, driven initially by COVID-19 restrictions, seems likely to continue.

Montgomery County election officials are expecting 23% of registered voters to turn out for this November’s election. That’s dependent on COVID-19 rates and other unknowable factors, but is based on similar past elections.

ExploreWhat's on the November ballot in Montgomery County

Only 8% of voters showed up for the May special election, said Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek. But in the 2020 general election, turnout was nearly 73%, he said.

The last election similar to the upcoming one was in 2019, which saw 21% turnout, Rezabek said. Among those voters, only 3% voted early in person, and 7.5% used mail-in ballots.

Four Dayton school board candidates are among 13 Montgomery County write-in candidates approved for this November’s election. FILE
Four Dayton school board candidates are among 13 Montgomery County write-in candidates approved for this November’s election. FILE

Credit: FILE

Credit: FILE

But by 2020, 37% of voters mailed in ballots and almost 21% voted early in person, he said.

“We do anticipate the continued growth of people doing early or mail voting,” Rezabek said. That lets people review candidates and issues on their own time, but means turnout on Election Day itself won’t be as big as it once was, he said.

Absentee ballots can be mailed, put in a designated drop box or hand-delivered to the board of elections office, Rezabek said.

Municipal offices and other local jurisdictions will be on this year’s ballot for Montgomery County voters, along with a charter amendment, tax levy and other issues for some voters, he said.

In those local elections there are a large number of write-in candidates, Rezabek said. They are listed on the board’s website, and a list will be available on request at polling locations, he said.

Previous polling locations in nursing homes won’t be used on Election Day this year, as a continuing COVID-19 precaution, Rezabek said. The board will mail a postcard to anyone whose polling location changed, but voters can also check online, he said.

No changes are expected to in-person voting procedures: face masks will be required in Dayton and are generally suggested at other locations and will often be available. Other COVID-19 precautions will remain in place.

Poll workers will wear face masks and hand sanitizer will be available at voting locations, Rezabek said.

Greene County typically has heavy early turnout, said Board of Elections Deputy Director Llyn McCoy.

ExploreWhat's on the Greene County ballot

“People here in Greene County like early voting,” she said.

In 2019, the last off-year election, about 2,000 people voted early in person or by mail, McCoy said.

“It was about half and half,” she said.

If absentee ballot requests are any indication, turnout will be low this fall in Miami County, Board of Elections Director Laura Bruns said.

“We have only gotten less than 100 requests at this point,” she said.

That contrasts sharply with the 2020 general election, which produced 77% turnout and a historic level of early voting, Bruns said.

“More than 35% of those were early (in person) or by mail,” she said.

Warren County turnout was low in the May 2021 special election, with only 64 of 174 precincts open, Board of Elections Director Brian Sleeth said. But in November 2020 the county saw an 81.8% turnout. More people voted by mail – 49,572 – than on Election Day itself, when 44,652 cast ballots, he said. Another 41,579 voted early in person.

ExploreWhat's on the Warren County ballot

This time, however, is likely to resemble other off-years like 2017 and 2019, Sleeth said. He expects turnout of 30% or less.

“Generally this is a very low turnout election. Always has been,” Sleeth said. It took statewide issues on the ballot in 2017 to pump turnout to 30% then, he said.

How to vote early

All in-person early voting will take place at each county’s board of elections office. Early voting will be open the same hours statewide:

· 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, until Oct. 22;

· 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Oct. 25 to Oct. 29;

· 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 30;

· 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 31; and

· 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 1.

Nov. 1 is also the deadline for mail-in absentee ballots. They may be returned in person to your local board of elections office until 7:30 p.m. Nov. 2.

Monday, Oct. 4, is the deadline for registering to vote in the Nov. 2 election.

Information on absentee ballots and all other voting questions can be found at the Ohio secretary of state’s elections webpage, www.ohiosos.gov/elections, or from each county’s board of elections.

Greene County

Board of elections: 551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia

Phone: 937-562-6170

Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/greene

Miami County

Board of elections: 215 W. Main St., Troy

Phone: 937-440-3900

Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/miami

Montgomery County

Board of elections: Mezzanine level, 451 W. Third St., Dayton

Phone: 937-225-5656

Website: www.montgomery.boe.ohio.gov

Preble County

Board of elections: 101 E. Main St., Eaton

Phone: 937-456-8117

Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/preble

Warren County

Board of elections: 520 Justice Drive, Lebanon

Phone: 513-695-1358

Website: www.vote.warrencountyohio.gov

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