Ohioans who want to vote in November’s election must register by Monday and they can start casting ballots early on Tuesday.
This year’s Nov. 3 election features a contentious presidential race and local candidates running for U.S. Congress, the Ohio Legislature, judicial seats and county offices, as well as local tax issues.
Ohioans can register online, change their address and check to make sure they are registered at VoteOhio.gov.
Across the Dayton region county boards of elections are readying their early voting centers for people who want to vote in person before Election Day. Social distancing measures are in place and protective gear, including masks and hand sanitizer, are on hand for staff and voters to keep people safe during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We do expect lines and, especially with social distancing, the lines are going to look longer," said Llyn McCoy, director of the Greene County Board of Elections. "We are asking people to bring their patience, and we’ll get them voted.”
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Credit: Alexis Larsen
Lines of early voters are expected to snake well into the Montgomery County administration building parking garage on Tuesday, said Jan Kelly, county board of elections director.
“I’m nervous. The energy is exciting but there are so many unknowns: COVID, the temperature of the nation and the temperament of the people," she said. "But we are prepared, and we will handle whatever comes at us.”
Military members and overseas civilians began voting two weeks ago. Starting on Tuesday everyone else can can vote absentee by mail, hand deliver their absentee ballot to their local county board of elections or they can vote early in person at their local board office until Nov. 2. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 or hand-delivered to the board of elections by 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3 to be counted.
“We are making it easier than ever for registered Ohio voters to make their voice heard,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose. “Every voter choosing to cast their ballot from the comfort of their own home makes for an even smoother voting experience."
His office sent ballot request applications to every registered voter in the state and by Thursday more than 2 million Ohioans had requested absentee ballots, up from 957,260 from the same time in 2016, LaRose said.
Last week LaRose issued a directive saying that people who have requested an absentee ballot but wish to instead vote early in person may vote on regular ballots rather than provisional ballots through Nov. 2. Those who have requested an absentee ballot but decide to vote at the polls on Election Day will have to vote on provisional ballots, which will be reviewed by bipartisan board teams prior to counting after Election Day to make sure the person has not voted twice.
It is illegal to fraudulently cast two ballots, but if voters are concerned that their absentee ballots have not arrived at the board office by Election Day, they can go to their polling place, explain the situation and cast a provisional ballot, Kelly said.
Requested absentee ballots will be mailed out beginning on Tuesday. Warren County Board of Elections Director Brian Sleeth said he’ll be sending out about 44,000 absentee ballots Tuesday, up from 26,000 at the same time during the 2016 presidential election. The board paid Pitney Bowes to track the progress of absentee ballots through the mail so voters can see how close they are to getting to their homes, he said.
“We are down to the wire. We will be ready,” Sleeth said.
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Processing voter registrations has become far less labor intensive, Kelly said, since online voter registration began in September 2016, after the legislature passed a bill sponsored by LaRose when he was in the Ohio Senate. It also makes it easier for voters to complete the whole process from home as long as they have the correct documentation. The state requires name, address, date of birth and a choice of providing either the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number or a driver’s license or state identification number.
How many people are registered locally?
As of Sept. 25 7.98 million Ohioans had registered to vote statewide, a 1.5 percent increase over the total voter registration for the 2016 General Election, according to LaRose’s office.
Locally the largest increase in voter registrations by percentage so far in the nine-county Dayton region is in Warren County, which saw its total jump by 9 percent, according to data provided by LaRose’s office. Montgomery County’s total dropped by 0.8 percent, the only area county to see a decline. The final numbers will change once the deadline has passed.
|Voter registration and turnout 2016 and 2020||Primary 2016||General Election 2016||Primary 2020||General Election 2020|
|Jurisdiction||Registered Voters||Voter turnout||Registered Voters||Voter turnout||Registered Voters||Voter turnout||Registered Voters *|
|Ohio data is as of 9/25/20 and county data is 9/30/20. Final numbers will be available after Oct. 5.|
|Source: Ohio Secretary of State|
Several of those interviewed said they saw fewer third-party voter registration drives this year as the pandemic led to the cancellation of large gatherings.
David Pepper, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, said the pandemic necessitated a change in voter registration strategies.
“We have been working with local small businesses, like restaurants and day care centers, to become voter registration hubs. We have used digital ads to target eligible Ohioans who aren’t registered to vote yet, and we’ve sent mail to voters who have recently moved to help them update their registration,” Pepper said, urging voters to check to make sure they are registered before Oct. 5.
“Despite Donald Trump’s efforts to distract and divide us, Ohioans are coming together ― Black and white, young and old — to vote in record numbers, demand that every single vote is counted and deliver our democracy," Pepper said.
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Credit: JIM NOELKER
Evan Machen, communications director of the Ohio Republican Party called the state GOP ground game the best in the country.
“We’ve made over 10 million voter contacts, and registered thousands of new voters,” Machen said. "The Biden campaign has knocked on zero doors and has virtually no campaign team in the state. We are extremely confident that Trump will win Ohio and our voters will turn out on Election Day.”
“In addition, under Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s leadership, our election in Ohio will be conducted safely and securely,” Machen said. "We have some of the best election laws in the nation.”
The Miami Valley Voter Protection Coalition has resumed operations and will be providing advice and legal resources to voters in Montgomery and Greene counties as they early vote or go to the polls, said Ellis Jacobs, senior attorney for Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Voters can call the hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE.
“This group is strictly nonpartisan. We are not interested in who wins the election," Jacobs said. "We just want everyone who is legally registered to be able to vote and for all those votes to be counted.”
RELATED: How do you vote in Ohio? Here’s everything you need to know
How do I contact my local county board of elections?
1802 Princeton Road, Suite 600, Hamilton, OH 45011 Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (513) 887-3700 Fax: (513) 887-5535 E-mail: butler@OhioSoS.gov Website: elections.bcohio.gov
1512 S. U.S. 68, Suite L100, Urbana, OH 43078 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (937) 484-1575 Fax: (937) 484-1578 E-mail: champaig@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/champaign/
3130 E. Main St., Springfield, OH 45505 Mailing Address: PO Box 1766 Springfield, OH 45501-1766 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (937) 521-2120 Fax: (937) 328-2603 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/clark/
551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, OH 45385 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (937) 562-6170 Fax: (937) 562-6171 E-mail: greene@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.greene.boe.ohio.gov
215 W. Main St., Troy, OH 45373 Office Hours: 8 a.m-4 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (937) 440-3900 Fax: (937) 440-3901 E-mail: miami@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/miami/
451 W. Third St. Dayton, OH 45422 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (937) 225-5656 Fax: (937) 496-7798 E-mail: montgome@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.montgomery.boe.ohio.gov
520 Justice Dr., Lebanon, OH 45036 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (513) 695-1358 Fax: (513) 695-2953 E-mail: email@example.com Website: vote.warrencountyohio.gov
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