Ohio voters have options as Election Day nears

With a presidential Election Day in less than three months, voters need to know their options and be prepared.

Ohio voters have choices in addition to in-person, traditional voting on Nov. 3.

Voters have to go through some steps to cast a mail-in ballot, but it’s a straightforward process that works well in Ohio, elections officials say.

Amber Lopez, deputy director of the Clark County Board of Elections, suggests voters can help by requesting their ballot now.

“We are processing the applications each day as we receive them to avoid a backlog later,” Lopez says. “During the primary, we were overwhelmed by applications, and we want to make sure that doesn't happen again.”

To vote by mail, you have to fill out an absentee ballot application. This form can be downloaded at the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. Or, you can call the Clark County Board of Elections at (937) 521-2120 to request a form be sent to you. Just complete the application, and either mail it to the board at P.O. Box 1766, Springfield, 45501-1766, or take it to the board office at the Springview Government Center, 3130 E. Main St., Springfield.

Voters should be sure to include their phone number and/or email address on the application so board officials can contact them quickly if there’s a problem if the application, Lopez says.

The board will start mailing out ballots Oct. 6. Voters can send completed ballots by mail or deliver to the board office. A single first-class stamp should be sufficient to mail a ballot, unless the voter puts something extra in the envelope, Lopez says. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 to count. Ballots can be delivered to the board until 7:30 p.m. Election Day.

Early in-person voting also begins on Oct. 6. The board is working to find a new site for early voting that allows for more parking and more space for physical distancing, but plans have not yet been finalized, Lopez says. Check the board’s Facebook page for updates.

Early voting takes place mostly on the weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. However, closer to Election Day, some evening and weekend hours also will be available. Check the board’s website for details about hours.

Clark County voters can be confident they will have an honest and well-run election, Lopez says.

“Our office is staffed by a bipartisan team of dedicated election officials,” she says. “With very few exceptions made for security reasons, almost every aspect of the elections process is open to the public and subject to Ohio's sunshine laws, and we are happy to answer any questions voters may have.”

Important Dates:

  • Oct. 5 – Deadline to register to be eligible to vote in General Election on Nov. 3. Also, the deadline to update your registration with a name or address change. Without the update on record, you may have to cast a provisional ballot. As long as your information is correct, a provisional ballot will count, but it’s a longer process than casting a regular ballot.
  • Oct. 6 – Early in-person voting begins. Location to be determined.
  • Nov. 2, 2 p.m. – Early voting ends. Also, mail-in ballots must be postmarked by this date to be counted.
  • Nov. 3, 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. – Election Day. Mail-in ballots can be returned to the drop box at the Board of Elections office, Springview Government Center, 3130 East Main St., Springfield, until 7:30 p.m. and be counted.

Read more articles by Steve Schlather.

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