early voting

A view of an Ohio voting sticker at the Hamilton County Board of Elections to participate in early voting, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio.
Aaron Doster / Associated Press

President Trump has taken to Twitter with a misleading claim that people who previously voted for Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden can change their vote. But you cannot do that in Ohio.

This fall, election workers will sort mountains of paper, upload data from thousands of USB sticks and tabulate millions of votes — all to tell Ohioans who won their 18 electors, who will don judges’ robes, who will ascend to local office and who will pay more in taxes.

How do county election boards keep it all straight?

“You have to be extremely organized,” Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Anthony Perlatti said. “We put a bar code on everything, we label everything.”

A social distancing sign rests on the floor as people participate during early voting at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

Ohio boards of elections are seeing an unprecedented flood of early in-person voting and dropping off of absentee ballots, in spite of heated partisanship that has bred fear among some voters. Elections officials, law enforcement and citizens groups are mobilized to keep voters safe.

Updated at 10:35 a.m. ET Tuesday

With one week still remaining until Election Day, Americans have already cast a record-breaking 66 million early ballots, putting the 2020 election on track for historic levels of voter turnout.

That's some 19 million more pre-election votes than were cast in the 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.

First Sunday early in-person voters lined up around the Stark Board of Elections, through the back lot to the street.
M.L. Schultze / WKSU

Lines snaked outside the Franklin County Board of Elections during the first weekend of early voting. More than 1 million Ohioans have already cast early ballots, including about 440,000 who voted in-person at the election board.

That's more than double the number of Ohioans who voted early in-person at this point in 2016.

President Donald Trump speaking to supporters in Circleville.
Nick Evans / WOSU

Thousands of Trump supporters swelled the Pickaway County fairgrounds on a chilly Saturday, even as Ohio State held its first football game of the season. The president’s visit to Circleville was part of a last minute swing through four battleground states.

In this April 28, 2020 file photo, Marcia McCoy drops her ballot into a box outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections in Cleveland, Ohio.
Tony Dejak / Associated Press

A federal lawsuit against Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose that could have allowed counties to add more ballot drop boxes at various locations for the November election has been dropped.

GOP political consultant Karl Rove speaks at the LBJ Presidential Library and the Texas Book Festival on December 1, 2015.
Jay Godwin / LBJ Library via Flickr Creative Commons

In this week's episode of Snollygoster, Ohio's politics podcast from WOSU, hosts Mike Thompson and Steve Brown discuss why influential political consultant Karl Rove is working to help conservative justices retain their seats on the Ohio Supreme Court.

Answering Your Questions About Voting In Ohio

Oct 21, 2020
Voters cast their ballots using social distancing at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, Tuesday, April 28, 2020, in Cleveland.
Tony Dejak / AP

The pandemic has upset the usual protocol for voting and created political fights out of logistical issues.

Voters have requested a record 2.7 million absentee ballots, many for the first time. The onslaught that has brought questions, confusion and errors.

Several Northeast Ohio boards of elections are expanding their capacity to accept dropped-off absentee ballots amid a surge in early voting.

Local election officials are adding drop boxes and ballot collection points—but they’re doing so only in the immediate vicinity of boards’ headquarters, following an Oct. 5 directive from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

A view of an Ohio voting sticker at the Hamilton County Board of Elections to participate in early voting, Tuesday, Oct. 6, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio.
Aaron Doster / Associated Press

WOSU’s Letters from Home is collecting stories from our day-to-day lives during the COVID-19 pandemic. We want to hear reflections and thoughts from all Ohioans.

In the lead up to next month’s election, ideastream is answering your questions about voting. Lacey from Columbus asked what happens if your ballot seems to have been lost in the mail.

According to Portage County Board of Elections Deputy Director Terry Nielsen, if a voter calls into the board to report a missing ballot, the board can mark an already mailed absentee ballot as void and send a new one.

Even before the coronavirus pandemic, Tina Barton knew counting mail ballots would become a problem.

Three Butler County Board of Elections workers have tested positive for the coronavirus. The BOE says they were not in contact with voters.

The early voting center at the Franklin County Board of Elections in Columbus.
John Minchillo / Associated Press

The pandemic is raising concerns over safely voting on Election Day, while some question the reliability of the U.S. Postal Service. Many voters now want to either cast their vote or drop off their ballot in person, and  new grassroots organization in Columbus wants to help.