Ohio Legislature approves all-mail primary up to April 28; legislation awaits Governor’s signature

Ohio Legislature approves all-mail primary up to April 28; legislation awaits Governor’s signature
Ohio lawmakers approved an all mail-in primary election. The legislation awaits the governor's signature.

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Health concerns forced Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton to postpone the state’s primary election, which was supposed to happen March 17.

The Governor wanted the primary, with in-person voting, pushed back to June 2.

Wednesday, state lawmakers approved language that went in an opposite direction.

As part of the legislature’s coronavirus relief bill, an all-mail primary election will happen with an April 28 deadline.

Those who do not have access to a printer can call the board of elections and request their ballot.

The state will send informational postcards to every registered Ohioan to explain the process of requesting an absentee ballot.

Once receiving their ballot, voters will have to return the ballot in a postage-paid envelope.

It must be postmarked by April 27.

Ballots can also be dropped off at local county boards of elections that have drop-boxes.

A limited group of voters will be able to vote in-person on April 28, including disabled voters and those without a home address.

More information on the primary election and absentee process can be found on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website.

Voters can also call their local county board of elections for more information.

State Rep. Diane Grendell, a Republican from Chesterland, said lawmakers had to take into account deadlines that wouldn’t have a negative impact on the Democratic Party’s delegate process.

“It would be unfair not to allow them to have their chance to vote. That’s why we moved it (the date) up,” Grendell said. “And, we also know that there’s no chance to vote in person (perhaps even in June) because the virus will be the same or worse by that time. So now, we’re going to take all the absentee ballots and everybody has a chance to send in their absentee ballot.”

Lawmakers also raised concerns about school districts that had levies on the ballot.

Several groups, including the ACLU, said they worry about voters being disenfranchised.

The Ohio Democratic Party said it had concerns with the June 2 date proposed by Gov. DeWine because of uncertainties with the coronavirus and possible implications for “school and other local levies”.

The Ohio Democratic Party said: “Moving Election Day to June 2 would have meant that the official results would not have been certified for an additional 21 days (that’s how long county boards of elections have to complete their canvasses). So, we wouldn’t have had final results until June 23, but our deadline to select delegates for the convention is June 20th".

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