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Ohio's Revised Primary: What Voters Need to Know

The Secretary of State's office is encouraging citizens to visit VoteOhio.gov to find information about requesting and submitting the mail-in ballot.
The Secretary of State's office is encouraging citizens to visit VoteOhio.gov to find information about requesting and submitting the mail-in ballot.

The coronavirus crisis led to an order from the Ohio Department of Health that canceled in-person voting on March 17, 2020, the originally scheduled date of the state's primary election. Health Department Director Amy Acton ordered all polling locations to be closed due to a health emergency. Now, Ohio is facing an unprecedented revised primary. 

The Secretary of State's office has developed a comprehensive website at VoteOhio.gov with full details about how to vote. Here is what you need to know about voting in the Ohio primary. 

Voting by mail has been extended by the state legislature through H.B. 197.

Absentee ballots must be requested by April 25, 2020. To request an absentee ballot, voters can mail an absentee ballot application to their board of elections, call their board of elections and request an absentee ballot be sent to them or write down the following information on a blank sheet of paper and mail it to their board of elections: 

  • Full name 
  • Date of birth 
  • Full registration address including county 
  • Address where the ballot should be mailed if different from registration address
  • One of these: Ohio driver's license number, last four digits of Social Security number or include a copy of an acceptable form of ID
  • Include in your request this sentence: "I'm requesting an absentee ballot for the March 17th Ohio Primary." 
  • Indicate ballot type: Democrat, Republican, Libertatian or Issues only ballot
  • Signature 
  • Phone number (optional but suggested) 
  • Email address (optional but suggested) 

On the absentee ballot application under "date of election," put March 17, 2020. Applications with other dates will be processed so long as the rest of the required information is listed. 

Absentee ballots must be postmarked by April 27, 2020 and received by May 8, 2020 to be counted, unless the voter is an American living abroad or a member of the U.S. military currently deployed overseas

There will be limited in person voting on April 28 for individuals with disabilities who require in person voting and for people who do not have a home mailing address. In person voting will only occur at board of elections early voting centers, not at precinct polling locations. 

Disabled and visually impaired voters may request a remote ballot marking system through their county board of elections. To request this ballot, either call the local board of elections or fill out the Form 11-G Online Form. Disabled and visually impaired voters also qualify to vote on April 28. 

All early voting ballots and absentee ballots submitted prior to March 17 will count and will be counted on April 28 with the rest of the ballots. 

Voters can see a sample ballot for their county here. Voters can track their ballots here.

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio's primary was February 18, 2020. You can still for the general election in Novemeber. Voters who moved and did not update their address before February 18 can still apply for a ballot and receive a provisional ballot from their board of election. Voters who changed their names may request a regular ballot if they can provide a signed Form 10-L and proof of the name change, otherwise a provisional ballot will be provided by their board of elections. It is strongly suggested that voters check their registration status

Votes will begin to be counted on April 28 at 7:30 pm. 

For more information visit . 

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Abigail Bottar is a junior at Kent State University. She is pursuing a major in political science with a concentration in American politics and minors in history and women's studies. Additionally, Abigail is starting her second semester copy editing for The Burr.