COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Many Ohio voters are navigating uncharted territory for their first mail-in only election. The primary on Tuesday, April 28 was rescheduled and reconfigured by lawmakers after the state halted the original March 17 election for health concerns.
Prior to March 17, close to 27,000 people in Franklin County had already cast in-person ballots during early voting. Since the legislative changes, almost 160,000 voters in the county have requested absentee ballots.
Voters must have their mail-in ballots postmarked by Monday, April 27 or turn it in at a ballot box at a local board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Aaron Sellers, the Franklin County Board of Elections public information officer, expects voter turnout to be down compared to the 2016 presidential primary, but says things have been running relatively smoothly.
“We’re doing everything that we need to do as far as recommendations from state, local and national officials — as far as social distancing and things to mitigate the spread,” he said.
Inside the Board of Elections, polling machines are spaced six feet apart, with a line roped off and extending outside of the building to make room for social distancing.
On Election Day, only voters with disabilities and those who cannot receive mail qualify to vote in-person. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says absentee voters who applied on time, but have not yet received their ballots, will be allowed to cast provisional ballots.
Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday.