Absentee Ballot Requests Accumulate in Counties Across Ohio
ST. CLAIRSVILLE — They can’t be mailed out for 10 more days, but thousands of requests for absentee ballots in Ohio already are piling up in local counties in preparation for the Nov. 8 general election.
This year, the office of Ohio Secretary of State John Husted sent each registered voter in Ohio an absentee ballot application, and approximately 805,844 applications were received by county boards of elections statewide as of Sept. 24, according to information provided by Husted’s office.
In Belmont County, Director of Elections William Shubat reports more than 8,200 voters there thus far have submitted requests for absentee ballots, an increase over the 2012 presidential election.
“In 2012, we had over 15,300 vote early,” he said. “If this holds up, this year we will be higher than that.”
The deadline to register to vote in the Nov. 8 general election is Oct. 11, and all boards of election offices across Ohio will be open 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. that day to accommodate voters who need to register or change information on their existing registration.
Elections officials will begin sending out absentee ballots the following day, Oct. 12, and registered voters can request an absentee ballot by mail until Nov. 6. The ballots must be returned to the board office by the close of polls at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
In-person absentee voting at board offices also begins on Oct. 12, and during the first two weeks of early voting all boards of election will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The week of Oct. 24, the offices will stay open until 6 p.m. for voting on weekdays. They also will be open for voting from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 29, and from 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 30.
Beginning Oct. 31, voters will have until 7 p.m. each weekday to cast their ballots. Polls will be open again on the weekend from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 5, and from 1-5 p.m. on Nov. 6.
Early voting also will take place in board offices from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 7 — the day prior to Election Day.
Polls will be open Election Day, Nov. 8, from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m.
Jefferson County Director of Elections Diane Gribble said with the large number of hours available for voting, voters should have plenty of time to cast their ballots.
She reports there already have been almost 5,000 absentee ballot requests in the county, and the office is preparing for 10,000 absentee ballot submissions. That figure includes all in-person early voters.
In 2008, there was “quite a lot of absentee voting” in Jefferson County, but that decreased with the 2012 election, according to Gribble. She expects voter turnout this year to increase.
“The secretary of state’s office this year has sent absentee ballot applications to all voters in state, and that makes the numbers higher,” she said. “The people are benefiting. We also have a presidential election year with no incumbent. … Historically, when no incumbent is running, voting tends to be a bit higher.”
The number of absentee ballot requests so far is reported at 968 in Harrison County, and 1,007 in Monroe County.
Absentee ballot request forms can be accessed at MyOhioVote.com, or by calling the local board of election office. In Belmont County, the phone number is 740-526-0188; in Jefferson County, 740-283-8522; in Harrison County, 740-942-8866; and in Monroe County, 740-472-0929.