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Government and Politics

Ohio presidential primary voting starts Tuesday
Absentee balloting can be done by mail or in-person
This story is part of a special series.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections begin early voting tomorrow  for the March 6th primary. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze has more on the preparations for Ohio’s Super Tuesday election.


Early voting preparation

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Voting in Ohio, per Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted

bsentee Voting by Mail
Starting Tuesday, January 31. All 88 county boards of elections begin mailing absentee ballots to voters who have already requested to vote by mail in the March 6 primary. 

Those who haven’t yet requested an absentee ballot can submit their requests in writing to their county board of elections no later than noon on March 3. An absentee ballot request formh can be downloaded and mailed in to county boards of elections; it's available on the Secretary of State’s voter information website:


In-Person Absentee Voting
The in-person absentee voting period also begins on January 31 and runs through 6:00 p.m. on Friday, March 2, 2012. Locations and regular business hours for in-person absentee voting vary from county to county.


Voter Registration Deadline
The deadline to register to vote for the March 6 primary is February 6. The voter registration form also serves as the change of name or address form and all Ohio voters who have moved or changed their name since the last election should update their registrations by February 6. This helps to ensure these voters can vote a regular ballot, rather than a provisional ballot. *Ohio’s voter registration/change of name & address form is available for download at


Voting Information & Resources
To register to vote, update voting information, request an absentee ballot, find contact information for Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections or to get more general information about the March 6 primary, visit]


Ohio’s GOP lawmakers drastically changed the voting calendar last year, including curtailing early voting. But most of those changes never took effect because Democrats and voting rights advocates stalled them with a referendum that voters will decide in the November election.

That means that for the March 6th election, voters can start casting ballots now in person for presidential, congressional and state legislative candidates. Same thing with paper absentee ballots.


Lorain County Board of Elections Director Paul Adams says his offices are gearing up for a big early turnout. That includes hiring three-times the workers to handle in-person voting and tripling the space at the elections board that early voters can use. But his personal preference is paper absentee balloting.

“It allows you the time to look up information … on the candidates and issues to help to you make an informed decision. (That’s)  as opposed to either if you’re voting at the board of elections or at the polls, if you come across a candidate or issue you’re unfamiliar with, you may not have the time to then try to find the information on that candidate.”


Adams does not expect this voting season to be as busy as four years ago. Back then, both Democrats and Republicans had contested presidential primaries. This year, only the Republicans are fighting over the presidential nominations.

Adams also notes that Ohio law allows 17-year olds to vote in the presidential primary.


Listener Comments:

Yes Ohio does allow independents to vote in the Republican primary, but voting essentially means you are declaring yourself a Republican at that moment for that time. Of course, you can switch affiliations at any time, but you will still be flooded with Republican mailings and phone calls. Unless you feel VERY strongly about a particular Republican candidate, it's not worth it. I speak from experience as an independent who tried it once!

Posted by: Debbie S. (Stow, Ohio) on February 1, 2012 7:02AM
Does Ohio allow independents to vote in the Republican primary?

Posted by: Kevin Daugherty (Sheffield Lake OH) on January 31, 2012 1:01AM
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