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VOTING IN OHIO DURING A PANDEMIC

Election season is heating up, and COVID-19 has been in full swing for five months.  Ohio had a uniquely challenging primary season, where the election was conducted entirely by mail.  We are always trying to protect our clients, their families, and their businesses. Without proper planning, many individuals will be faced with the harsh reality of putting their safety at risk by voting in person and exercising their Constitutional right to vote.  Adding to the difficulties, whether mail-in voting should be permitted for all voters, and the funding of the United States Postal Service have become political issues.  As a result, our firm is recommending that if you want to vote by mail (in Ohio, that means Absentee), then you should request your ballot as quickly as possible.  Below is some helpful information to navigate the politically charged pandemic voting season.

IMPORTANT DATES

  • Voter registration deadline: Oct. 5, 2020
  • Early voting and mail-in voting begins: Oct. 6, 2020
  • Deadline to request absentee ballot: Oct. 31, 2020
  • Early voting and mail-in voting ends: Nov. 2, 2020
  • Election: Nov. 3, 2020

REGISTERING TO VOTE

To register to vote, or update your personal information, you can visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office website and use this form:  https://www.ohiosos.gov/globalassets/elections/forms/vr_form_04-2015.pdf

VOTING ABSENTEE

To vote absentee, you must request an absentee ballot by mail using one of the below forms.  Note that absentee ballots must be requested by October 31, 2020.  To count, your ballot must be postmarked by November 2, 2020.  We suggest mailing your ballot at least one week before election day.  Alternatively, each of Ohio’s county boards of election has a secure drop box that is available until November 3, 2030, at 7:30 p.m.

ELECTION DAY VOTING

Voters can still vote in person at their registered polling locations on November 3, 2020.  Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.  If you are in line by 7:30 p.m., you must be permitted to cast your ballot.

EARLY IN-PERSON VOTING

Early voting is permitted in each Ohio county.  In most counties, this takes place at the county Board of Elections.  Below are the hours for early voting in Ohio.  For information on those voting locations, please visit: https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/elections-officials/county-boards-of-elections-directory/

  • October 6-9: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • October 12-16: 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • October 19-23: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
  • October 24: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • October 25: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • October 26-30: 8:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • October 31: 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
  • November 1: 1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
  • November 2: 8:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

WHAT DO I NEED TO VOTE?

Ohio law requires that every voter, upon appearing at the polling place to vote on Election Day, must announce his or her full name and current address and provide proof of identity.

The forms of identification that may be used by a voter who appears at a polling place to vote on Election Day include

  • An unexpired Ohio driver’s license or state identification card with a present or former address so long as the voter’s present residential address is printed in the official list of registered voters for that precinct;
  • A military identification;
  • A photo identification that was issued by the United States government or the State of Ohio, that contains the voter’s name and current address and that has an expiration date that has not passed;
  • An original or copy of a current utility bill with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current bank statement with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current government check with the voter’s name and present address;
  • An original or copy of a current paycheck with the voter’s name and present address; or
  • An original or copy of a current other government documents (other than a notice of voter registration mailed by a board of elections) that shows the voter’s name and present address.
  • For utility bills, bank statements, government checks, paychecks, and other government documents, “current” is defined as within the last 12 months.

See for more information: https://www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/id-requirements/

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