Primary Election Day 2020 is finally here: Everything you need to know

Posted at 9:30 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 10:13:52-04

CLEVELAND — After weeks of waiting for this day, it’s finally here: Ohio’s Primary Election Day. From the onset of the pandemic, Ohio emerged as a leader in taking aggressive and swift actions to limit the spread of the coronavirus, and postponing the March 17 Election Day was part of those efforts. A day before Ohioans were set to go to the polls, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Amy Acton defied a judge’s order and ordered all poll sites to be closed as a safety precaution for poll workers and the public.

Here are a few things to know:

There is still time to vote
Monday was the day to postmark mail-in ballots, but if you didn’t mail yours in, you can drop it off at the county board of elections office up until 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

In-person voting is limited today
According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s website, the governor’s stay at home law allows for limited in-person voting on April 28, only at boards of elections early vote centers, not at precinct polling locations. In-person voting is available only for voters with disabilities who require in-person voting, and those who do not have a home mailing address.

"The board must also issue a provisional ballot to any voter who would otherwise be required to vote provisionally, including those voters who requested an absentee ballot for the election," said Jon Keeling, Director of Communication for the Secretary of State's Office.

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Manager Mike West confirmed that voters who filed an application for an absentee ballot but did not receive one may vote on Tuesday.

It is too late to mail in your absentee ballot; it must be dropped off
Absentee ballots must have been postmarked by April 27, 2020 to be counted for the 2020 Primary Election. If you have an absentee ballot, you will need to hand deliver it to your county’s board of elections for it to be counted.

You must drop your absentee ballot off at your county board of elections.
You can find the address for your board of elections here.

The polls still close at 7:30 p.m.
Ballots must be delivered to your county’s board of election by 7:30 p.m. today.

It is too late to request an absentee ballot.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot was April 25.

Election results will be posted on
Unofficial election results for counties in the News 5 viewing area will be available hereafter the polls close at 7:30 p.m.

News 5 will display live election results from Cuyahoga, Lake, Lorain, Stark, Summit and Portage counties as they come in Tuesday night. You can also find links to the boards of election for other counties in the News 5 viewing area, where their election results will be posted.

When will we see results?
There’s a reason some say patience is a virtue. It will take time for all the provisional ballot rulings and for the absentee ballots to all be received. The postmark deadline was Monday and the board of election will accept ballots received by May 8.

Voter turnout/ballots requested
In Cuyahoga County, 22.3% of voters have requested ballots. That's a turnout that, if it stood, would be down from the 43% in 2016 but not all that far off the 27% in 2012. On April 21, Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced that 1,667,883 Ohioans have requested a vote-by-mail ballot for the Ohio primary election and 975,158 voters have already cast their ballots.

Ohio is cut out for vote by mail
A new Harvard Harris Poll shows nearly three out of four voters support the November election being a vote by mail contest. LaRose says that's a call for later but Ohio would be ready.

"The good news is this Ohio is well prepared to run high volumes of vote by mail,” LaRose told News 5. “Our boards of elections understand how to do vote by mail. In a normal election something like 20-25 percent oh Ohio's ballots are cast as a vote by mail so this is something that is scaleable in Ohio. Certainly we hope that we're back to normal, we want to be going to our voting locations in November, we want to be shaking hands and give high fives and voting in person, but if not, we're going to be prepared for those contingencies. Again Ohio is ahead of other states in that we have the ability to run vote by mail elections here in our state,” he said.

Read more here.

Statehouse races to follow
Democrats picked up five seats in the Ohio House of Representatives in 2018 and need two more in 2020 to end the Republican supermajority. One target will be the 16th District seat held by incumbent Dave Greenspan of Westlake, who won in 2018 by a relatively narrow margin. The Democratic challengers include Joe Romano and Monique Smith.

Find more info on your county's election here.

The Ohio Capital Journal contributed to this report.