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November 2020 election: Important dates all Ohio voters need to know

The November election is less than two months away.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — What will the election process be like when Ohio voters hit the polls this November amid the COVID-19 pandemic?

Secretary of State Frank LaRose is providing an election day status update right now, which we are streaming inside this story.

He highlighted the following important dates Ohioans need to know:

  • Monday, Oct. 5: Ohio voter registration deadline. Still need to register? Do it HERE.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 6: Early voting begins and absentee ballots are distributed.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: The "realistic deadline" for requesting your absentee ballot. “As you all know, the law says that you may continue to request absentee ballots up until the Saturday before election at noon. That’s a terrible idea," LaRose said. "We’re telling everyone, as far as we’re concerned, the logistical deadline, the realistic deadline, is the 27th of October. You really should not request an absentee ballot after that because chances are that you’ll get it on Wednesday or Thursday after the election is over."
  • Monday, Nov. 2: Your absentee ballot must be postmarked by this date if you're mailing it in. "Ohio allows those to be received up to 10 days later as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 2."
  • Tuesday, Nov. 3: The general election is held.

“Ohioans have three really good choices as far as how they vote this November,” he said while outlining the options:

  • Four weeks of early voting.
  • Four weeks of absentee voting.
  • In-person election day voting.

“All three choices work well," he said. "Ohioans should simply pick the one that works best for them.”

LaRose also discussed his push to provide postage-paid envelopes for Ohio voters using absentee ballots. He said that decision is expected on Sept. 14.

“If they have the postage-paid envelope, our belief is that they will send it in sooner," he said. "We want them to send it sooner. We don’t want these to sit on peoples’ kitchen tables or counters for days and days on end. One way to encourage people to send them in sooner, of course, is to provide that postage paid. ...

For those voting by absentee, you can track your ballot HERE.

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LaRose appeared on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday morning where he discussed the security of Ohio's ballot drop boxes and how recruiting enough poll workers is the state's biggest issue.

“It takes 35,000 Ohioans to run in-person election day, and so we’re doing all we can to recruit those poll workers," LaRose said. "Next, we’re making sure that we get accurate information out to Ohio’s voters. It’s just crucial that people have reliable information. … and that’s why one of my most important jobs is being that source of accurate and trusted information for Ohio’s voters.”

We streamed his comments live on YouTube, which you can watch in full below:

Last week, LaRose and other state elections officials hosted a task force meeting to discuss how Cedar Point's COVID-19 line management strategies could influence Ohio's in-person voting protocols.

The 2020 November election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 3. The first debate between President Donald Trump and Joe Biden will be held in Cleveland at Case Western Reserve University on Tuesday, Sept. 29.

Due to the number of increased absentee ballots that are expected this year, LaRose is also reminding Ohioans that election night tabulations are always considered unofficial results. For that reason, he said Ohio is changing the way its reporting the results to clearly state there may still be thousands of outstanding absentee ballots.

“The numbers will change between election night and the final certification. That’s not a sign of something nefarious happening. Quite the contrary. It’s the sign that the system is working the way it’s supposed to. When we say that every voice matters and so every vote should count, that’s exactly what we mean."

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