People enter a voting precinct to vote in the Michigan primary election at Trombly School Aug. 7, 2018 in Grosse Pointe Park, Michigan. (Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images)
Ohioans got a mild, sunny Election Day to weigh in on two major statewide ballot measures as well as local offices. But while rain and snow aren’t going to deter voters this year, voting rights advocates described a handful of challenges Tuesday morning.
What’s on the ballot?
Around the state, voters will decide whether to protect reproductive rights with a constitutional amendment (Issue 1) and whether state law should allow recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older (Issue 2).
Regionally, voters in Cincinnati will decide whether to approve the sale of a city-owned railway to Norfolk Southern (Issue 22). Columbus voters will consider levies for the school district (Issue 11) and local libraries (Issue 16). In Cleveland, the so-called people’s budget initiative asks voters whether to set aside 2% of the annual budget for resident-proposed projects (Issue 38).
In a press conference Tuesday morning, a coalition of voting rights groups highlighted hurdles some voters were facing. Nazek Hapasha from the League of Women Voters brought up absentee ballots. “Especially a particularly high number of students that never received their mail ballot,” she explained.
“I have the names of at least two out of state students that just haven’t been able to vote in this election although they did everything correctly, because they’re not able to get home to vote,” she explained. “I know someone drove up from the University of Cincinnati, all the way to Upper Arlington to cast their ballot because they never got their ballot at the University of Cincinnati.”
If you didn't receive your absentee ballot, you can vote with a provisional ballot at your polling place on Election Day!
Bring a photo ID. Polls are open 11/7 6:30am-7:30pm https://t.co/30LTBfVVzI
You vote will count once your BOE verifies you did not return an absentee ballot pic.twitter.com/iclhzcvjTh
— Ohio Voter Rights Coalition (@votercoalition) November 6, 2023
Voters who never received an absentee ballot can still vote provisionally on Election Day. The board will count that vote once they verify the voter didn’t send in the absentee ballot. Voters who got their ballot but missed the Monday postmark deadline, can also vote provisionally at their polling place or hand-deliver the ballot to the county board of elections.
Importantly, voters cannot drop off absentee ballots at their polling location.
Looking ahead, Collin Marozzi explained the four-day cure period falls on Veterans Day. Some provisional voters, for instance those without photo ID, have to bring proof of identity to the county board within that timeframe to validate their ballot.
“County boards of election must be open for Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week, however, they need to post a sign on their property saying that their offices will be closed in observance of Veterans Day on Saturday,” he explained. “That kicks the fourth and final day of our cure period to actually Monday, November 13, and that is actually the last day that mail in ballots as well can be received by the board of elections.”
Kayla Griffin from All Voting is Local described a ballot scanner going down in Shaker Heights Tuesday morning, but she said a technician responded quickly and the polling place still had one scanner working.
The polls close at 7:30 Tuesday night. So long as voters are in line by then, they have the right to vote.
Follow OCJ Reporter Nick Evans on Twitter.
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