Home Election 2020 Ohio sees high turnout for early voting, isolated issues arise

Ohio sees high turnout for early voting, isolated issues arise

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Athens County Board of Elections. File Photo by Morgan McCarthy.

A record number of Ohioans are requesting absentee ballots and voting early in person amid the coronavirus pandemic.

According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, a total of 2,470,268 absentee ballots have been requested as of Oct. 13. At the same time in 2016, only 1,245,670 had been requested.

In Ohio, no reason is needed to request and receive an absentee ballot. Registered voters just need to mail in an application to their local board of elections.

With so many absentee ballots being processed, there have been numerous isolated problems statewide.

One of the largest issues was when incorrect absentee ballots were sent to some voters in Franklin County last week. According to the Associated Press, 49,669 wrong ballots were mailed to voters. Franklin County Board of Elections officials resolved the issue and re-sent the correct ballots.

The Columbus Dispatch reported Wednesday evening that close to 1,000 Delaware County voters received two ballots. Voters who received two ballots will only be able to cast one of them.

Absentee ballots must be requested three days before Election Day and if returned by mail, postmarked no later than Nov. 3. Voters also have the option to drop off completed ballots at their board of elections office before 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Voting early in person has also become a popular option this year. On Tuesday, just one week into early voting, 193,021 Ohioans had already cast their ballots in person — more than triple the number of 64,312 in 2016.

The CDC in June released recommendations stating that “reducing the number of voters who congregate indoors in polling locations at the same time,” is necessary to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Early voting locations have seen longer than normal lines due to higher demand and COVID-19 safety procedures. Wait times to vote in some counties have been longer than an hour.

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