Elections Chief: Ohioans Can Vote In Person If Ballots Don't Arrive By Mail

Apr 24, 2020

Ohioans who requested but haven't yet received their absentee ballot by Tuesday's election will be allowed to cast a provisional ballot at their county board of elections.

If you're still waiting on an absentee primary ballot to arrive in the mail, election officials say you're not alone. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says he's been fielding reports from around Ohio that the U.S. Postal Service is taking longer than usual to deliver the mail. And voting by mail in Ohio requires up to four trips throught he mail.

LaRose, who advocated for a longer election window, says he's been working with congressional leaders to encourage the Postal Service to speed up the delivery of those ballots.

"They need to make sure they're able to deliver a vote-by-mail election in the first state that's really done it since the beginning of this pandemic," LaRose says.

In a change, LaRose now says voters can cast a provisional ballot at their county board of elections on April 28 if they didn't receive their absentee ballots in the mail. A directive sent to all county boards of elections last week says in-person voting will be limited to Ohioans with disabilities, and to "persons who are unable to receive mail at the place where the elector resides or at another location."

Voters must request their ballots by Saturday, April 25, then postmark them by Monday, April 27 or drop them off at the board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday April 28.

As of Tuesday, just 975,158 voters had cast ballots in the Ohio primary. A total of 1,667,883 Ohioans had requested a ballot by that point – half the number of Ohioans who voted in the 2016 presidential primary.