OHIO, USA — Ohio voters will be casting their ballot through the mail this year, after the primary election was postponed.
While Ohio's initial primary date was set for March 17, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton issued a public health emergency due to coronavirus concerns the night before, leaving Ohio's election temporarily up in the air.
On Wednesday, however, Ohio legislature came to a conclusion. Both the Ohio House and Senate voted to move forward with a coronavirus relief bill, part of which stated Ohioans would be voting via absentee ballot in the 2020 primary election. Gov. Mike DeWine said he will sign the bill Friday.
The bill allows ballots to be cast only by voters who were registered by Feb. 18, which was the registration deadline for the original primary Election Day. No new voter registrations for the primary will be accepted. Residents can register for November's General Election, though, at the Ohio Secretary of State website found here: https://olvr.ohiosos.gov/
LEGISLATURE'S PRIMARY ELECTION PLAN
- Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose must design, print and mail approximately 7.8 million informational postcards to every registered Ohioan that explains to them how to obtain the form necessary to request an absentee ballot.
- Based on preliminary estimates from prospective vendors, it is expected that these postcards will reach registered voters in the second week of April.
- Voters who want to cast a ballot must then either print out an absentee ballot request form themselves or call their county board and ask for one to be sent to them.
- Voters must then affix their own postage and send the request to their county board of elections.
- Boards must then process the request, print the ballot and send it to the voter.
- Each voter must receive their ballot, cast their vote, and return the ballot in a postage-paid envelope, postmarked by April 27.
HOW TO REQUEST AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
Visit the Vote Ohio website and print off your absentee ballot request.
Fill out the form, sign it and mail it in to your local county board of elections. Absentee ballot requests are also available there if you can't print yours out.
"Ohioans are accustomed to early voting and voting by mail," Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Monday. "You can print off your absentee ballot request and mail it in. Voteohio.gov. Your BOE will have them as well. Send them in promptly and you'll get your absentee ballot and you can return it by mail."
HOW TO VOTE USING AN ABSENTEE BALLOT
- Wait to receive your ballot in the mail from your county board of elections.
If you have questions about your ballot request, call your county board of elections or you can track the status of your ballot request through the Voter Toolkit.
Return your voted ballot.
You can send you absentee ballot in by U.S. Mail or deliver it in person to your county board of elections.
The return envelope containing your marked ballot must be received by your county board of elections prior to the close of the polls on Election Day, or postmarked no later than the day before the election and received by the board of elections no later than 10 days after the election.
To make sure your absentee ballot is counted, it must be received by your board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day OR be postmarked by the day before Election Day.
NOTE: The U.S. Postal Service (USPS) estimates that it may take two to five days for your voted absentee ballot to be delivered to your board of elections by mail. If you are returning your voted ballot during the week before Election Day, you should take it to USPS no later than the day before Election Day and ensure it receives a postmark as follows:
- If you use a postage label purchased at a USPS customer service window or vending machine, the date on the label is the postmark. This is the USPS-recommended way to postmark your ballot.
- If you use postage stamps, ask that it be postmarked.
Facts not fear: Putting COVID-19 into context
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Protect yourself from coronavirus
- Cover: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
- Dispose: Throw used tissues in a lined can.
- Wash hands: Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.
- Hand sanitizer: If soap and water are not readily available, use and alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol, covering all surfaces of your hands and rubbing them together until they feel dry.
- Avoid touching: Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.