Starting this week, Ohioans are able to go to their local county board of elections office to cast early votes for this November’s election.
In parts of Ohio, there will be elections in municipal government, school boards, local judges and ballot measures. There are no statewide or federal elections in Ohio in 2019.
Columbus's mayoral election will be unopposed. Some of the other notable elections include Toledo's city council, municipal judges and clerk for the municipal court. Franklin County and Hamilton County will have municipal judicial elections.
Columbus will also have several local ballot initiatives on bond issues.
In all 88 counties, the board of elections offices will be open for early voting during select days up until the Nov. 5 election. This week and next week, offices will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. during weekdays, except for Columbus Day, which is Oct. 14.
On Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 (Monday through Friday), offices will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Offices will also be open that weekend: Saturday Nov. 2 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday Nov. 3 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. On Monday, Nov. 4, offices will be open from 8 a.m. to to 2 p.m. The next day is the date of the general election.
All Ohioans must have a valid ID to vote.
“When it comes to early voting in Ohio the [state’s] offerings of in-person early voting for anyone who needs it, both on weekdays & on weekends outperforms many states,” Melissa Wyatt, the associate director of Civic Technology and Policy at Rock The Vote, told The Center Square via email. Rock The Vote is a progressive nonprofit that seeks to make voting easier.
“At Rock The Vote we are glad to see this, in addition to the fact that any voter in Ohio can request an absentee ballot & vote by mail – you don't need a specific, approved excuse to vote absentee,” Wyatt said. “We applaud Secretary of State Frank LaRose the work he has done to ensure Ohioans can cast their ballot. Flexible voting options, like those offered in Ohio, should be more widely available across the US.”
The secretary of state’s office encourages Ohioans to visit their county board of elections websites for more details on where to vote and what local offices are up for election.
Wyatt said that there are a few ways in which Ohio could improve with voting rights.
“There are a number of ways to improve voting rights in Ohio, including; offering voter registration on Election Day, so no eligible voters are disenfranchised because they missed a deadline,” she said. “Expanding voter ID options to include things like student IDs, so that no one is discouraged from voting due to lack of ID and expanding online voter registration to allow eligible voters without a current state-issued ID to use it.”
Maggie Sheehan, the deputy press secretary for the office of the Ohio Secretary of State told The Center Square via email that 1,379,191 Ohioans voted early in the 2018 General Election through mail or in person.