NORWOOD, Ohio — During an election cycle coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, casting a ballot looked a lot different to many Ohio voters in 2020.
According to Ohio Sec. of State Frank LaRose, 3.4 million voters across the state have cast their absentee ballot or voted early.
Before the 2020 election, Ohio had never surpassed 2 million total votes in the early voting period. With more than 243,000 absentee ballots outstanding, Ohio’s early vote total is already 180% of the previous early vote record and is 60% of the total number of votes cast in the 2016 general election.
In Hamilton County, 89% of absentee ballots have already been returned, according to Board of Elections Director Sherry Poland.
“We had a high-volume, record number of early in-person voting as well as absentee by mail,” she said.
Among those early voters is Hamilton County resident Brittany Frye. With her 3-year-old daughter Janae in tow, Frye said her 2020 vote doesn’t just count -- it’s critical.
“You’ve got to do something. At least try,” she said. “At least you can say you did something instead of not doing anything at all.”
There are still some fail safes in place to make sure your vote is counted. For those who sent in an absentee ballot that isn’t showing as accepted online, you can vote provisionally. If you still have your ballot in hand but made a mistake, Poland said there’s still time to correct it.
“If a voter made a mistake on their ballot, there is a process that they can correct that. They should call us here at the board and still use that vote-by-mail ballot. They should not take it to the polling place,” Poland said.
With a record number of ballots rolling in, Poland hopes for some normalcy, even in an abnormal year.
“Typically in presidential (elections), we are able to have that unofficial count completed somewhere around midnight, 1 a.m. I’m hoping for the same tomorrow night,” Poland said, adding that the official certification is expected Nov. 18.
On Tuesday, voters should bring a valid ID and a mask to the polls. There will be backup masks on site, and equipment will be cleaned between uses.
If you’re unsure of where to vote or to see if your ballot has been counted, visit the websites for your local board of elections:
- Hamilton County Board of Elections
- Butler County Board of Elections
- Warren County
- Clermont County Board of Elections
- Brown County
- Adams County
- Highland County
WCPO 9 is committed to giving you better access to the democratic process by providing the resources you need to cast a vote in the 2020 general election. For more resources, FAQs and more, visit our Election 2020 tab.