You will most likely be receiving an application for an absentee ballot some time this week. Absentee ballot applications are hitting nearly 6.6 million mailboxes next week, about a month ahead of when early voting is scheduled to start in Ohio.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office is spending $1.1 million to mail applications to all active registered voters — those who cast ballots in 2012 or 2014, said Husted press secretary Joshua Eck. Another 1.1 million registered voters who haven’t voted recently were sent cards to confirm their current addresses.
Voters need only fill out and return the application at their convenience and their absentee ballot will be mailed to them so they may make their selections at their leisure and return their ballot to the board of elections ahead of Election Day.
“One myth we want to dispel is that absentee ballots don’t get counted until after Election Day. The truth is that absentee ballots are the first votes counted on Election Night,” Husted said. “Voting absentee is easy and convenient – you never stand in a line and you don’t need to leave home to vote.”
In 2005, Ohio went to no-fault absentee and early voting, meaning voters no longer needed a valid excuse for doing so.
“We are accepting applications for absentee voting,” Scioto County Board of Elections Director Julia Gearheart said. “Actually everybody will start receiving an absentee application in the mail because they have sent those out. Everybody will be receiving an absentee application in the mail but we won’t physically start mailing those out until Oct. 12 and you can vote in the office (beginning) Oct. 12.”
Gearheart said the Board of Elections office in the Scioto County Courthouse will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. beginning Oct. 12 for in-office voting. This year because of renovations to their offices and expansion into adjoining office space, the voting machines will be in a more secure location inside the Board of Elections instead of the hallway where they were previously located.
“Oct. 11 is the last day to register to vote,” Gearheart said. “And we will be here from 8:30 (a.m.) until 9 (p.m.).”
Absentee voting has proven popular with Ohio voters. Nearly 1.9 million voters cast absentee ballots in the 2012 presidential election, or about one of every three cast in Ohio that election.
“Early absentee voting has many benefits. It is convenient for voters for sure, and when voters cast ballots by mail, it reduces the chance of lines at the polls on Election Day,” Husted said.
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.