Registered voters have not taken advantage of the extended primary election deadline as numbers released Tuesday by Ohio Secretary of State (OSOS) Frank LaRose shows low turnout.
With less than a week until the primary election deadline, only 1,667,883 Ohioans have requested a vote-by-mail absentee ballot. Ohio has 7.7 million registered voters, according to The Columbus Dispatch. This means that less than 22 percent of registered Ohioans have requested an absentee ballot.
Gov. Mike DeWine pushed back Ohio’s original primary election date from March 17 to April 28 after declaring a health emergency due to the coronavirus. People are expected to vote by mail rather than in-person. Only certain situations will allow Ohioans to vote in-person.
Before the primary election was pushed back, 523,522 early votes were cast, according to the OSOS.
Of the absentee ballots requested, OSOS numbers show Democrats have requested 866,104 compared to 705,478 for Republicans. Furthermore, Democrats (377,104) have submitted more ballots by mail than the GOP (288,578).
“This election is about a lot more than a presidential primary. It’s about the levies and local issues that are being decided in communities all around Ohio, and leaders who are competing to be your councilwoman or legislative representative,” LaRose said.
“Unprecedented challenges require unprecedented efforts. Together with bipartisan election officials and community leaders from across the state, we’ve worked tirelessly to prepare Ohioans to vote by mail,” he added. “As we enter this final week, I encourage Ohioans to mail their ballot in as soon as possible.”
Vote-by-mail ballots must be postmarked by April 27 or hand-delivered by April 28 at 7:30 p.m. to the voter’s county board of elections, according to the OSOS press release.
Low primary turnout is not uncommon for Ohio in a presidential election year. To illustrate, back in 2016, almost 44 percent of people voted in the state’s primary. The turnout was even lower in 2012 when less than 26 percent of registered voters cast a ballot, according to the OSOS office.
– – –