COLUMBUS, Ohio — Early voting is underway for Ohio's special Aug. 2 primary election, necessitated by delays and infighting over the state's new General Assembly district maps.
Voters will be selecting party nominees for the Ohio House and Senate as well as members of the Republican and Democratic State Central Committees. They will also be making their voices heard on local ballot initiatives. Despite no "marquee" statewide races, the first round of early voting numbers show "stronger turnout than expected."
According to Secretary of State Frank LaRose, more than 44,000 absentee ballots have been requested either in person or by mail, with more than 6,000 of them having been returned and submitted for counting. In addition, more than 5,000 residents have voted early at their local boards of elections.
"Every election is important," LaRose said in a statement, "and that is why it's all the more imperative that we encourage our friends, neighbors, and colleagues to participate in these decisions that will significantly shape our state's future."
Of the absentee ballots requested, 63% have been for the Democratic candidates, and the party also claims 55% of all in-person votes so far. Those statistics are expected to even out a bit, as Republicans have historically voted in bigger numbers on Election Day.
Ohio enjoys one of the longest early voting periods in the United States (21% longer than the national average, according to LaRose). Voters can request an absentee ballot at VoteOhio.gov and track their ballots at VoteOhio.gov/Track.
In addition, early votes can still be cast in person during any of the following dates and times, but only at their respective county boards of elections:
- July 13-15: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- July 18-22: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- July 25-29: 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
- July 30: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- July 31: 1-5 p.m.
- Aug. 1: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Polls on Primary Day will be open from 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. The registration deadline for the election has passed, but voters can still register in time to vote in the general election on Nov. 8.