Crunch time for absentee voters


By Frank Lewis - flewis@civitasmedia.com



If you had planned to vote by absentee ballot, but have just let time get away from you, you need to know the schedule over the next few days for the operation of the Scioto County Board of Elections

This week, in-person absentee hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Friday. Over the weekend, in-person absentee hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday. On Monday, March 14, in-person absentee hours are 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Then on Election Day, March 15, the polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

While voters have until Saturday by noon to request an absentee ballot by mail and can return by mail as long as it is postmarked by March 14, to ensure their ballot is not rejected due to lack of a proper postmark, they are encouraged to deliver their completed ballot in-person to their county board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.

Ohio law allows a voted absentee ballot to arrive via U.S. mail after the polls have closed, so long as it is postmarked to indicate it was cast and mailed before Election Day. Ohio is one of only 12 states with a system for counting late-arriving ballots, further solidifying the Buckeye State’s position as a leader in absentee voting and ballot access.

“There’s new instructions (from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted) for all the voters to be aware when they take theirs to the post office to make sure that it is postmarked,” Scioto County Board of Elections Director Julia Gearheart told the Daily Times. “You can walk into the post office and make sure they do stamp it with a date.”

Gearheart said if an envelope containing a ballot has no postmark or is postmarked after election day, the vote cannot be counted.

By Election Day, voters will have had 648 hours to vote by mail and 211 hours to vote in person.

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By Frank Lewis

flewis@civitasmedia.com

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.

Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.