PDT Staff Writer
Nearly 6,000 voters in Scioto County have, as of Tuesday morning, requested absentee ballots. Julia Gearheart, director of the Scioto County Board of Elections, says her office staff has been kept busy also with a constant stream of early voters.
“We’re averaging about 150 people per day,” Gearheart said. “(Secretary of State) Jon Husted sent out to every registered voter, an absentee request, and the second mailing is getting ready to go out for new people that have registered to vote, and updated their address.”
Gearheart said her office has received a total of 5,809 requests for absentee ballots and 1,220 have come to the Board of Elections and cast their ballots.
Gearheart said current hours of operation at the Scioto County Board of Elections are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, but that will change next week.
“Starting on the (Oct.) 22nd, those hours will go from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” Gearheart said.
In Ohio, there are two ways to vote before election day. You can vote by mail with an absentee ballot or you can vote early in-person at an absentee voting location. Some of the deadlines differ if you are overseas and in the military. For more information, see Ohio Military Votes from the Ohio Secretary of State website.
State law provides that “Early Voting” ends at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, 2012. However, on Oct. 5, 2012, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Obama for America v. Husted that it was unconstitutional to prohibit early in-person voting for non-military voters on the final three days before the election (Saturday, Nov. 3; Sunday, Nov. 4; and Monday, Nov. 5), although the decision allows each county board of elections to decide whether to allow early in-person voting on these three days. The Ohio Secretary of State then requested that the U.S. Supreme Court review and overturn that decision.
On Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court denied Ohio’s request to curtail early voting in the days leading up to the Nov. 6 presidential election. In a one-sentence order on Tuesday, the high court denied the state’s petition for a stay of the appeals court decision.
After hearing the ruling, Gearheart said the new additional voting hours will be Saturday, Nov. 3, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, Nov. 4, from 1-5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 5, absentee voting from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Ohio, critical to both Democratic President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney, began early in-person voting earlier this month but planned to cut it off on Nov. 2, the Friday before the election, except for members of the military. No Republican president has ever captured the White House without winning Ohio.
You will need to bring the following identification to the early voting site:
- The last four digits of your Social Security number; or your driver’s license number; or
- A copy of a current and valid photo identification, for example, Ohio driver’s license, state ID card, government ID (photo identification must show your name and address); or
- A copy of a current utility or phone bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or other government document that shows your name and current address, including from a public college or university.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org