This report addresses the following questions:
- How did the pandemic and subsequent adoption of vote-by-mail affect turnout in Ohio?
- Are there any differences between the Republican and Democratic parties?
- How did rates of absentee ballot rejections vary by county from 2016 to 2020?
- How did the move to vote-by-mail affect the rate of rejections for provisional ballots?
- How does past voting behavior predict participation in Ohio’s 2020 primary?
Despite Ohio’s 15 years of experience with no-excuse absentee voting, converting a presidential primary to predominantly vote-by-mail on a tight timeline proved challenging. Election officials worked diligently to scale up mail-balloting by the new date of April 28. Nonetheless, if the issues encountered this spring are left unaddressed, Ohio voters may expect similar confusion and delays in November.
Ohio Updates and Election News:
10/20/20 - Peacekeeping Team: Ohio voting rights groups are organizing de-escalation teams for Election Day. Spearheaded by the League of Women Voters, there are efforts to train social workers and others in efforts to promote calm at polling locations.
10/7/20 - Long Lines At the Polls: As early voting started in Ohio, there were long lines at the polls. Due, in part, to social distancing measures, the Franklin County Board of Elections on Columbus' north side saw lines up to a quarter mile long.
10/7/20 - Drop Boxes: The Secretary of State issued a directive, allowing for counties to receive ballots from multiple drop box locations. As a result, the case regarding the Secretary's limits on drop box locations was dismissed.
10/1/20 - Poll Worker Surge: Ohio's Secretary of State says that at least 9 of 88 counties have fulfilled their poll worker goals, and more than half of Ohio's counties need less than 100 poll workers to sign up.
9/29/20 - Employees as Poll Workers: In an effort to supplement poll worker shortages, Ohio State University, one of central Ohio's largest employers, will pay employees their regular rate if they take the day off to work as poll workers.