It may be too early to get excited about the November election, but, when the time comes, Ohio voters again will have plenty of opportunities to do their part.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is seeing to that.
Husted’s office sent out 6 million applications for absentee ballots late last week to all registered voters. Another batch will be mailed in early October to those who have recently registered or updated their information.
Even those who don’t receive an unsolicited application, but would like to vote by mail, need only ask for a ballot in writing. (A request form can be found online at MyOhioVote.com.)
Voters who return an application will receive their absentee ballot around Oct. 7, when early voting begins.
Voters can then mail completed ballots, as long as they are postmarked by midnight the day before the election, or they can return them in person to their county Board of Elections until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
This year’s mailings will cost $1 million, but the bill will be paid with federal funding from the Help America Vote Act.
Meanwhile, Husted is planning for a 28-day early-voting period beginning on Oct. 7. But pending the result of a lawsuit filed by the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union, Ohio could return to the 35-day early-voting period used in previous elections.
Earlier this year, lawmakers changed when voters could head to the polls early, eliminating “golden week,” when Ohioans could register to vote, then vote in one visit.
The lawsuit involves Husted’s directive standardizing early-voting hours among all of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Despite all the political bickering and even without golden week, Ohio has more early voting than 40 other states.
During the last presidential election, when 6.9 million residents received applications from the state, about 1.3 million Ohioans voted by mail. More than 600,000 voted early in person.
Clearly, Ohioans are warming up to the state’s no-excuse, early-voting rules. Now, if only our politicians would just leave the process alone.
- The Docket
- Member Service