CLEVELAND — We're now exactly one week away from Election Day, but time is running out if you want to cast an absentee ballot. State officials are warning if voters wait until the legal deadline on Saturday, Oct. 31 to request an absentee ballot, you may not get it until after the election.
“The last thing we would want to do is create that expectation where Ohioans think they can wait until the last minute,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
So far, it’s estimated more than two- million Ohio voters have cast their ballots. In Cuyahoga County, more than 370,000 ballots have been requested and almost three quarters of them have been returned. Looking statewide, data shows two-thirds of Ohioans have already received their requested mail ballots.
“Finding all these ballots in garbage dumpsters and stuff like that just makes me nervous. I want my vote to count,” said Kathleen Valenta.
We caught up with Valenta as she dropped off her absentee ballot before work early Tuesday morning. She says she requested her ballot online.
“It was mailed out to me in less than a week,” she said. “I wanted to drop it off just because I’m a little leery about the mail.”
Nina Hinton, who stood in line at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to cast her vote, shares Valenta’s concern about sending her ballot through the mail. She says it’s why she made it a priority to vote in-person.
“After everything we heard about the mail tampering and ballots coming up missing, I didn’t want to take that chance. I wanted to come down here in person and make sure that my voice is heard,” Hinton explained.
Waymond Shelly agrees but feels it’s a shame voters have to go to the extreme this election year to make sure their votes are counted.
“It’s a shame that America is going through these types of things. We’re better than that. We’re stronger than that. We’re smarter than that.”
In Ohio, if your ballot is at least postmarked by Nov. 2 it has up to 10 days to arrive at the board of elections to be counted.
If you run into any problems at the polls or issues trying to vote, email us your story to firstname.lastname@example.org