CLEVELAND — In the state's COVID-delayed, vote-by-mail primary in April we learned a valuable lesson about what happens if you ask for a ballot by the legal deadline two-and-a-half days before the election.
"If you request your absentee ballot at noon on Saturday before the election you're going to receive it in most cases Wednesday, Thursday or Friday after the election is over,” said Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
And that's what happened to a lot of voters in April. LaRose asked the state legislature to move the deadline to request a ballot back four days to Oct. 27 but they refused to take the matter up. Nevertheless he is asking voters to treat Tuesday as the deadline to request a vote by mail ballot.
"The last thing we would want to do is create that expectation where Ohioans think they can wait until the last minute,” LaRose said. “I think if any of us would admit, any of us that have ever been a college student before we know that procrastination is a bad idea right? Same thing with being a voter."
The good news is, of the record number of Ohioans who have requested vote-by-mail ballots, more than two thirds of them have already been returned. If you are one of those who may be waiting until this coming weekend to fill it out and send it back, know that while many states accept a postmark of Election Day Nov. 3, Ohio does not. It must be postmarked no later than the day before, Nov. 2.
LaRose said avoid that worry by mailing it in now.
"If you have an absentee ballot, mail it in. If you've requested an absentee ballot, mail it in as soon as you get it,” LaRose said. “Put the appropriate postage on it and go to Ohio.gov and make sure that your Board of Elections has received your ballot. Once you do that you can rest assured that your voice will be heard in this election."