The following is from UU Justice Ohio (UUJO):
Yesterday, the Ohio Senate and House unanimously determined that the final deadline for Absentee Ballot voting in the 2020 Ohio Primary is April 28. See: https://www.ohiosos.gov/
- The legislature noted that this is not a rescheduling of the election per se. Rather, it is an extension of the deadline for Absentee Ballots for the March 17 election.
- Ohioans who already cast primary ballots are good and will have their votes counted. Those who did not vote early will now have the rest of March and April to cast Absentee Ballots.
- There will be no in-person voting for this primary election, though exceptions are being made in certain cases for disabled voters and those without access to the postal system.
- Only voters who were registered and eligible to vote on March 17 may cast an Absentee Ballot.
- Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose will be sending a postcard to all Ohioans informing them of this voting process and how they can cast ballots.
The time window is very short! So, it is imperative that you request an Absentee Ballot and send it back as soon as possible.
Then please check with family and friends to make sure they know about Absentee Ballots.
Congregations, please use a text or email list or phone tree to notify all your congregants. We know from experience that many people do not understand the Ohio Absentee Ballot process.
Here are the basics about Absentee Ballots:
- You will have to request an Absentee Ballot from your respective counties’ Boards of Elections.
- The request form is available online. You can fill it out and print, then send it to your county Board of Elections. See the form and instructions at: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/
- Or you can request an application form by phone and have it mailed to you. Once completed, you mail the application back to your county Board of Elections.
- You can find contact, phone and mailing information for all 88 Ohio county Boards of Elections offices here. Or at: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/elections-officials/county-boards-of-elections-directory/
- Once you are approved as an absentee voter, you will receive a blank Absentee Ballot in the mail.
- Fill out your Ballot and then mail it back or drop it off at your Board of Elections office. Many counties have Drop Boxes for this. If mailed, it must be postmarked by April 27 to count.
Ohio Secretary of State LaRose has noted that the Ohio Revised Code prevents him from being able to simply mail blank ballots to Ohio voters. By law, Secretary LaRose cannot send out blank absentee ballots to Ohio voters. He is not even allowed to send out unsolicited absentee ballot applications, except for a general election, and that’s only if lawmakers provide the funding to do so.
In other words: during a primary election such as this one, LaRose cannot preemptively send out the first step (applications), much less the second step (ballots themselves). That is why you must formally request an Absentee Ballot.
As you might imagine, there are a lot of different organizations trying to change this process through the courts. And I will send out any modifications. But the safest process is to send in an Absentee Ballot request as soon as possible and return the completed Ballot as soon as it arrives.
Please use all available networks to inform your family, friends, and congregants about this Absentee Ballot process for the 2020 Ohio Primary Election.