Coronavirus: Voters may cast primary ballots from the curb, Ohio SOS says

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose issued a directive to county boards of elections to allow curbside voting upon request and to accept and process absentee ballot requests until 3 p.m. tomorrow, which will give Ohioans with concerns about coronavirus more options to vote.

The absentee ballot request deadline passed on Saturday. The directive extends the request deadline to 3 p.m. for voters who are hospitalized or “unforeseeably confined due to concerns regarding Coronavirus/COVID-19,” the four-page directive issued Sunday. “Confined” voters include those who are told by health care professionals to stay home or isolated themselves.

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The voter or a family member must return the absentee ballot to the board office by the close of polls on Election Day.

For curbside voting, someone must go into the polling place to inform election officials that a voter has concerns about coming inside. That request triggers a 16-step process for precinct officials to follow.

Election officials are taking other precautions to prevent virus spread during in-person voting.

DETAILS: Coronavirus concerns cause 14 local voting locations to move

“Fingercots” — latex covers that look like tiny condoms — along with alcohol wipes, hand sanitizer and gloves are included in kits deployed to more than 3,650 polling locations across Ohio.

Last week, LaRose put out an urgent call for people to step up as poll workers, fearing that many of the elderly among the 35,000 poll workers may need to back out. The call brought in hundreds of new poll workers.

Additionally, absentee ballots may be dropped off curbside on Tuesday at county Boards of Elections — not at polling places.

It is unclear how the unprecedented public health crisis will impact voter turnout in Ohio and three other states holding primaries on Tuesday.


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