Local voting going on now at courthouse


Scioto County voters have been slow to take advantage of early in-person voting for this fall’s general election, according to election officials.

“It is sort of unexpected,” said Julia Gearheart, director of the Scioto County Board of Elections. “After the special election we were really busy for the special election … We really geared up thinking we would be really busy with Issue 1 and 2 on the ballot.”

The last election in August took up the issue of abortion reproductive rights, as will Issue 1 on the November ballot. November’s Issue 1 asks the voter to cast a “yes” vote for a constitutional amendment to protect abortion and other reproductive rights in Ohio, while a “no” vote would be against the constitutional amendment. Issue 2 would allow for the legalization, commercialization, and regulation of adult use of cannabis in Ohio.

Locally, the voters of Portsmouth and unincorporated parts of Scioto County will be voting on energy aggregation. This is a second attempt to pass the issue, which local proponents say will help better regulate electric and natural gas costs which saw an increase hitting consumers this summer. An information session will be conducted at 6 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30, at the Portsmouth Municipal Building, 728 Second St., Portsmouth. The session will also be livestreamed on the Scioto County Commissioners Facebook page.

The Scioto County Board of Elections is being staffed 12-hour days to serve voters walking in at the offices on the first floor of the Scioto County Courthouse, 602 Sixth St., Portsmouth. The hours are 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., weekdays except for Tuesdays, which are 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The board offices will also be open the next two weekends before Election Day, for voters’ convenience. Saturday hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sundays 1 to 5 p.m.

“I’m hoping maybe we’ll pick up next week being the last full week,” Gearheart said. “Weekend voting is usually pretty heavy. Always on Sunday a lot of people come out and vote.”

Sunday is a day that many local voters have time off work and they have slotted their civic duty into that afternoon.

“Most people are off on Sunday. A lot of people don’t know we’re open so late that last week of voting,” Gearhart said. “We usually do have a good church crowd.”

A few things voters need to be aware of include the new requirement of a photo ID in order to cast a ballot in the general election. Also, voters hoping to request a ballot by mail are facing a Tuesday, Oct. 31, deadline to apply for that.

For more information on the ballot issues, including ballot language and the arguments for and against, check out the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, VoteOhio.gov.

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