Election Month begins today in Ohio! Over the past several months, hundreds of bipartisan elections officials at 88 county boards of elections have been working overtime to be ready. Over 2,000,000 Ohioans have already requested their absentee ballot, and a whopping 216 hours of early in-person voting is scheduled over the next four weeks. We have recruited more than 46,000 poll workers to ensure Ohio’s nearly 4,000 polling locations will open as scheduled. To keep voters and poll workers safe, extensive health and safety guidelines are in place to ensure that the polls will be open from 6:30am until 7:30pm on November 3.
In June, following a challenging primary election that tested the resolve of voters and elections officials alike, I joined with the bipartisan Ohio Association of Elections Officials to launch our Ready For November Task Force with a singular mission – to ensure that Ohio would be prepared to run a safe and successful general election. Over the course of those public meetings, we heard from national election law and administration experts, voting rights activists, elections officials from other states, advocates for voters with disabilities, the United State Postal Service, and experts on how to safely and efficiently manage socially distanced lines at early voting centers and election day polling locations, among others.
Here’s what came out of the task force that you need to know:
- If you’re one of the more than 2,000,000 Ohioans who have already requested an absentee ballot by mail, your ballot is now on its way to you. Once you have it, be sure to follow the enclosed instructions, place the appropriate postage on the return envelope, and mail it back. Then track it at VoteOhio.gov to make sure it arrives safely. If you haven’t requested your ballot yet, there’s still time to do so. If you prefer to deliver it yourself, you can personally deliver your ballot to your county board of elections 24 hours a day from now until 7:30pm on November 3rd. Ohio is a national leader in absentee voting.
- If you plan to take advantage of Ohio’s early voting starting today and running through November 2, visit VoteOhio.gov to find the location and hours. Early in-person voting offers the same experience for voters as they would have at their neighborhood polling location on Election Day.
- If you do plan to vote on November 3rd, look for signage at your polling location detailing all the steps that are being taken to protect voters and elections officials. Boards have been supplied with PPE and sanitizer and will follow mask and social distance protocols. In fact, we developed a 61-point health guidance document in partnership with the Ohio Department of Health and the CDC.
Visit VoteOhio.gov/DefendDemocracy to join tens of thousands of patriotic Ohioans who have stepped-up to serve their community and earn a few dollars along the way by being a poll worker on Election Day.
A lot of things are different in 2020, but one thing will never change; your vote matters. Elections have simply never been as accessible and secure as they are this year. Voting is safe and we are ready. Now it’s up to you — go vote, Ohio!
Frank LaRose is Ohio’s secretary of state. Reach him at 614-466-2655 or 877-767-6446,