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Ohio Already Approaching Record Level Of Absentee Ballot Applications

An absentee ballot application from the state of Ohio.
Darrin McDonald
An absentee ballot application from the state of Ohio.

More than twice as many absentee ballots applications have been received from Ohio voters compared to the same point in 2016, when the state saw a record number of early votes cast in the presidential election.

Secretary of State Frank LaRose reports just under 1.8 million absentee ballot applications have been mailed or turned in so far. There are just two weeks before early voting begins on October 6.

"One of the big reasons why Ohio is considered the national leader in absentee voting is because we’ve been doing it this way for nearly two decades,” LaRose said in a statement. “You get good at something when you practice, and Ohio has proven to be game-ready.”

Stats from local boards of elections continue to show requests from Democratic-affiliated voters are outpacing those from Republicans.

At this point in 2016, nearly 806,000 absentee ballot applications had been sent in – which grew to 1.4 million by the end of the presidential election. But around 1.5 million were requested in 2008, which was the first year for early absentee voting in a presidential election and a record year for voter registration.  
This election's total is still short of the nearly 2 million absentee ballots requested during the spring primary, which was extended and turned into a mail-in-only contest due to the pandemic.

The deadline to register to vote in Ohio is October 5, and the deadline to request an absentee ballot is October 31. But due to concerns with the U.S. Postal Service, election officials and voting rights advocates stress that voters should request their ballot as soon as possible, and fill out and return the ballot once they receive it.

WOSU walks you through how to vote in Ohio this election in our visual voting guide.