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Politics




Mail-in ballot requests coming on strong in Ohio; also, some need-to-knows about early voting
Early voting starts Tuesday and voters are responding to Ohio's first-ever statewide absentee mailing
by WKSU's M.L. SCHULTZE
This story is part of a special series.


Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
 
Jeanette Mullane describes the steps taken to ensure voter lists are accurate, including purging dead voters.
Courtesy of RICK SENFTEN
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In The Region:

Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections are preparing for early voting to begin tomorrow.  And WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that early indications are voters are responding big to a statewide mailing of absentee ballot applications.

Schultze: checking on voters in midst of mail-in deluge

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Beginning at 8 a.m., Ohio voters will start casting ballots for the Nov. 6 election.

And in places like Stark County, for example, the early numbers for mail-in-absentee voting are running about double what they were four years ago. In fact, some 46,000 people voted early in person and by mail in 2008. Already --  with five weeks to go before this year’s election -- the number of requests for the mail-in ballots alone  are already topping 30,000.

Jeanette Mullane of the Stark County Board of Elections says the county boards have been working all summer to clean up voter data bases, in a year where a lot of concerns have been raised about the potential for voter fraud.

“We’ve been working with other boards of elections on duplicate registrations, where someone’s registered in Stark County, they move to Summit County and they’re also registered there. So we are cleaning up our duplicate registrations statewide along with deceased voters are being removed from the rolls. And we’ve been working with bureau of motor vehicles data where people move and change address and also signature capture, making sure we have signatures of all the voters in the system.”

Mullane says the board has received challenges – most from one person – on 51 voters and has confirmed some of them are deceased – though no one has apparently tried to vote in their names. Other challenges have been thrown out.

 

SOME IMPORTANT THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT EARLY VOTING IN OHIO

For the first time, every registered voter in Ohio is receiving an application to vote by mail.  Here are some details on that way of voting:

  • Beyond the applications coming from the Secretary of State, some groups such as the Democratic and Republican parties and other groups interested in getting out the vote, have sent out applications for mail-in ballots.  If you mistakenly ask for an absentee ballot twice, you should get only one because your name will be flagged in board of elections computers when the first ballot is mailed out.
  • Mailing in the ballot requires sufficient postage: 65 cents.
  • Boards of elections will begin mailing out ballots this week. If you’ve already requested a ballot, you should receive it within two weeks.
  • You must submit absentee ballot requests by noon, Nov. 3.
  • If you’ve moved since the last election, you can update your registration through Oct. 9.
  • Before sending out a ballot, local board of elections will assign and scan in a voter ID that looks like a grocery store bar code. It will get a report on each voter, compare the name, birthdate, ID  and signature. If any information is missing, they will send follow-up letters to get the rest of the information.

 Another early voting method in Ohio is to vote in-person at county boards of elections.

  • Weekdays beginning this Tuesday and running through Oct. 9, you can register to vote and cast your ballot at the same time.
  • Hours for both registration and voting are extended on Oct. 9 from 8 a.m.-9 p.m.
  • Other than the 9th, voting hours for are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 2-Oct. 5, Oct. 10-Oct. 12 and Oct. 15-Oct. 19.
  • After that, voting hours are weekdays, 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 22-Oct. 26 and Oct. 29-Nov. 1.
  • You need to have an ID, but not a photo ID, to vote.
  • A federal judge has struck down an Ohio law prohibiting early, in-person voting on the weekend and Monday before the election. But the state is appealing and most board of elections are awaiting that decision before dealing with voting hours on Nov. 3-5.

You do not need a reason to vote either by mail on in-person early.

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