NORWOOD, Ohio — County leaders are making voter safety a top priority on Election Day this year.
Voting booths will be sanitized between each voter, and polling locations will have hand sanitizer and masks for voters. People who plan to vote in person on Nov. 3 will be required to wear a mask at all times, according to Gwen McFarlin, chair of Hamilton County Board of Elections.
“The goal is to continue to provide a safe and secure area, not only on Smith Road where the Board of Elections is, but in each one’s polling area in their neighborhoods,” McFarlin said.
In addition, there will be a new voting location that will allow officials to spread voters out for social distancing. The location is still within the campus of the Board of Elections at 4700 Smith Road. Voters will enter the same way and follow signs to the voting location.
"We have poll workers who are assigned the duty of a sanitation tech," said Sherry Poland, director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections. "Their job is to sanitize the voting booth and the pens after every voter."
In the primary election, there were 52 booths and 10 check-in areas. On Election Day, there will now be 120 booths and 30 check-in tables, McFarlin said.
McFarlin said she expects about 480,000 people to be voting in Hamilton County, and that voters should expect traffic on Smith Road in the days leading up to Election Day.
Voting by mail
McFarlin said there were 154,000 requests to receive an absentee ballot as of Wednesday morning.
Voters who are requesting an absentee ballot should drop their absentee ballot in the Board of Elections drop box so they can be sure their ballot gets to the BOE in a timely manner, McFarlin said. If voters are mailing their ballots, they should use two stamps just in case.
Click here for more information about voting by mail and requesting an absentee ballot.
Early voting hours
Ohioans can register to vote until Oct. 5. People can register at the Board of Elections, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, the public library or online.
Starting at 8 a.m. on Oct. 6, Hamilton County residents can cast their ballots at the Board of Elections Office (4700 Smith Road).
Early voting hours vary based on the day of the week. See the chart below for the full schedule or click here to download the schedule.
Voting for people who are/were incarcerated
People who have served a felony sentence have a right to vote, Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus said. In Ohio, voter registration for people convicted of a felony is canceled while the person is incarcerated, but they can re-register once their sentence is served, Driehaus said.
People who have been convicted of a misdemeanor can vote, even if they are incarcerated.
Click here to visit the Hamilton County Office of Re-entry for more information.