CINCINNATI — The Hamilton County Board of elections is “pressing the message” to drive up voter turnout in Ohio’s first vote-by-mail extended primary on April 28.
That message is: Get ballot applications in, and get them in now.
Board director Sherry Poland said 70% of the county’s voters usually choose to vote at their polling place on election day, but that isn’t an option this year.
"Since March 17, our phones have been ringing off the hook here at the board,” she said. “We are mailing out thousands of applications a day.”
Those applications are part of a two-part process that registered voters must complete to vote absentee in the primary.
Vote-by-mail application are available online at votehamiltoncounty.gov, at the board of elections at Smith Road in Norwood, or at 12 area Kroger stores. Voters can also call the board of elections at 513-632-7000.
Once the application is complete, a ballot will be mailed to the voter’s home. When the ballot is filled out, it should be sent back to the board of elections by mail or dropped off in the dropbox at the Norwood office.
The ballot needs to be postmarked by April 27 or dropped in the dropbox by April 28 at 7:30 p.m. to be counted.
For a full how-to, the board of elections has posted a video on YouTube to instruct voters. Voters can also track their ballot status on the board of elections homepage.
The only exception to the mail-only primary applies to people with disabilities. People who use disabled access voting machines can still vote in-person on April 28.
RELATED: Ohio lawmakers approve all-absentee primary ending April 28
Hamilton Party Democratic Party chair Gwen McFarlin said she’s optimistic that turnout will be better than it has in other years.
Hamilton County Republican Party chair Alex Triantafilou said the "get out the vote" message is more important than ever.
“We're pressing this message so thoroughly so we do drive our turn out up, so that people know this is an important right during this crisis,” he said.
Officials don’t know yet how fast results will come in.