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Ohio

0 /65
Vote at Home Score

2020 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed-out ballots

0 %

2016 General Election

Turnout rate (VEP)

0 %

Votes cast from mailed out ballots

0 %

State election policies as of 2022...

Full Vote-at-Home

0/10

Full Vote-at-Home

Voter automatically mailed ballot for every election

No Excuse Required

6/6

No Excuse Required

No excuse to vote from home

Single Sign-Up

0/6

Single Sign-Up

Voter signs up once to receive mail ballot for all future elections

Local Vote-at-Home Option

0/5

Local VAH Option

Local governments have discretion to conduct full vote-at-home elections

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

0/2

Online Mail Ballot Sign-Up

Voter can apply for mail ballot online

Ballot Tracking

2/4

Ballot Tracking

Voter can receive ballot status notifications.

In-Person Ballot Return

2/5

In-Person Ballot Return

Voter has multiple options to return mail ballot in person

Signature Verification

4/5

Signature Verification

Voter signature verified before ballot is counted

Ballot Cure Process

4/4

Ballot Cure Process

Voter can correct issues so ballot can be counted

Prepaid Postage

0/4

Prepaid Postage

Postage-paid return envelopes provided

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

0/4

Election Day Postmark Acceptance

Ballots postmarked by Election Day are accepted

In-Person Voting

2/4

In-Person Return

Physical locations for voters to vote and receive assistance

Pre-Processing

0/3

Signature Verification

Ballots are verified and scanned before Election Day

Mail Ballot Applications

2/2

Mail Ballot Applications

Election officials can mail ballot applications to all voters eligible to vote from home

Ballot Return Assistance

1/2

Ballot Return Assistance

Voters may receive assistance to return their mail ballot

Opportunities

Ohio can reduce costs and increase voter convenience by creating a permanent absentee voting list, on which voters can sign up to automatically be sent an absentee ballot for each election without having to re-apply. States experience significant savings by cutting down on the requests they need to process.
Creating an online portal for voters to request an absentee ballot that feeds directly into the voter registration system is an important step to help verify addresses, collect contact information, and to remove administrative steps to process a large amount of requests. We encourage an integrated process that allows new voters to register and for current voters to make changes to their address and make requests for ballots in a seamless manner.
Guaranteeing prepaid postage is a voter-centric reform that also removes an economic barrier to voting.
Expanding the use of secure drop boxes as another method for voters to return ballots is a cost-effective way to reduce strain on the postal system, and boxes are sometimes a preferred method by voters who want an extra bit of reassurance that their ballot makes it to the elections office on time. We highly recommend including provisions to allow for ballots to be received at polling places, vote centers, and drop boxes, as well as other locations deemed necessary by the clerk.
We highly recommend creating vote centers, or polling locations where any voter in the county can vote. This is a way to streamline the system so over time, as the share of the vote cast by mail increases, counties can have fewer overall polling locations, while individual voters will have more voting location options.
Accepting ballots with Election Day postmarks is a best practice to ensure that voters are given all options to vote their ballot in a timely manner. Current law allows for ballots accepted if postmarked by the day before the election, but accepting Election Day postmarks is estimated in most jurisdictions to decrease ballot rejection rates by half. We recommend that not only does a state allow the physical postmark on a ballot, but also to integrate into the USPS system for electronic postmarks to serve as validation that a ballot was mailed on time.
Ballot tracking software such as Ballot Scout or BallotTrax can be a very cost-effective tool to improve Ohio’s current ballot tracking system. An expanded notification system helps keep rejection rates low and increases voter confidence and participation.
Processing mail ballots to get them ready for counting before election day will help Ohio get faster election results. Ohio has an unspecified period of preprocessing, which the state should expand to at least 7 days before election day.
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Recent Legislation

As of August, 16 2021

Ohio did not pass any key election legislation in 2020, however a variety of bills were proposed in both the House and the Senate to advance Ohio’s mail ballot system including a bill to establish a an online portal for absentee ballot requests and a bill that would have mailed a ballot to all voters in the November 2020 election (the latter bill was passed in the House, but not the Senate). Ohio also saw some movement regarding drop boxes. Ultimately, after a statement from the Governor imposing a one drop box per county limit, it was determined that drop boxes could be implemented at the discretion of counties and that there was no limit.

The only mail voting related provisions to be enacted so far in 2021 were ones hidden in the appropriation bill (HB110) to limit the autonomy of local election officials. However, the Legislature still has the opportunity to do so. It is currently considering legislation related to automatic voter registration, drop boxes, and absent voting generally.

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