Guest column by Secretary of State Jon Husted
To all Ohio voters: There has been a lot of discussion about recent changes in the voting laws. Some of that discussion has informed and some of it has misled. As the chief elections official in our state I want you to have the facts about how easy it is to vote in Ohio. Please use it to guide your many choices in casting a ballot in General Election this November.
Option 1 – Vote by Mail
Around Labor Day, my office will be sending all registered voters an application to vote by mail. Complete it, return it in the envelope provided and your ballot will be mailed to you starting 28 days before the election. Then, when it is most convenient for you and from the comfort of your own home, you can fill out your ballot.
Many will choose to mail it back in the security envelope provided, never having to leave home to vote. Still others will choose to drop it off at the board of elections – either way your ballot will be counted as part of the official tally on Election Day.
Option 2 – Vote Early In Person
Beginning on October 7, 2014, and over the course of four weeks, you can go to your local board of elections during regular business hours to cast your ballot in person. To accommodate voters who cannot go during the week, your board of elections will also be open for voting from 8 am to 4 pm on the two Saturdays before the Election. This bipartisan voting schedule was recommended by local Republican and Democratic elections officials and will be the same in each of the 88 Ohio counties, ensuring all voters have equal access to the polls no matter where they live.
Option 3 – Election Day
And let’s not forget Election Day itself, when polls close to your home will be open from 6:30 am until 7:30 pm.
With absentee voting starting 28 days before the election, Ohio remains above the national average for access to voting. Many of our surrounding states, including Michigan, Kentucky, Pennsylvania and New York don’t even provide an early voting option. In addition, with the exception of states that vote exclusively by mail, Ohio has been the only state to send absentee ballot applications to all voters ahead of the election. These steps meant that Ohioans did not experience long lines at the polls that other states did in 2012 when approximately one in three Ohio voters chose to vote prior to Election Day. In fact, independent studies said the wait time in Ohio was 11 minutes.
Ohio is the most important swing state in the nation and as Secretary of State, I will continue to work to build the best system of elections in the nation where it will continue to be easy to vote and hard to cheat.
For additional information on voting in 2014, I encourage you to visit www.MyOhioVote.com.
Secretary Husted is Ohio’s 53rd Secretary of State. As the chief elections official in one of the most hotly-contested swing states in the nation, Secretary Husted has worked to modernize Ohio’s election system through the use of technology to streamline the voting process and clean up the voter rolls, making it easier to vote and harder to cheat. In 2012, under his leadership, Ohio delivered a smooth and fair Presidential Election with record absentee voting turnout.