Just under a quarter of Ohio’s registered voters actually cast ballots in the primary election which ended earlier this week. Low turnout was expected after the original March 17th in person Election Day was canceled because of coronavirus concerns, and absentee voting by mail was extended until this past Tuesday. And there are now calls for change to make it easier to vote this fall.
Health experts say coronavirus will likely still be a concern in November. That means distance spacing and sanitizing will continue to be important. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says that’s why if the state moves to a mail in balloting system, he wants some changes.
“I want to see us start picking up the tab on those return ballot postage – make that a postage paid envelope for every Ohioan in every election and I want to be able to send out those absentee ballot requests to absolutely every Ohioan for November as well," LaRose says.
LaRose also supports a bill that would allow voters to request absentee ballots online.
Jen Miller with the Ohio League of Women Voters thinks mail in voting will probably be necessary this fall. She wants Ohio to adopt practices used in some other states that primarily have mail in elections. She wants to bypass those absentee ballot requests altogether and wants more ways for them to be returned.
“That includes sending ballots to all voters. That includes having drop boxes or vote centers throughout the counties," Miller says.
Miller is also calling for a task force that can move quickly and make important decisions about conducting elections should the state face an emergency near Election Day. Of course, those changes would require approval by Ohio lawmakers. And they would have to move swiftly to make them in time for the November election.