COLUMBUS, Ohio — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from a previous story.
With just a week remaining before Ohio's May primary election, we're getting a closer look at some of the state's early voting numbers.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose says more than 100,000 Ohioans have voted early either in-person or by mail so far. In addition, more than 180,000 have requested a by-mail absentee ballot.
Those numbers appear to be down from previous years, perhaps a symptom of the confusion created by the ongoing battle over Ohio's General Assembly maps. As courts have yet to approve new district lines, primary races for the state House and Senate are not expected to be on the ballot until August.
Less than three weeks ago, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections said it had processed roughly 6,500 mail-in ballot requests, compared to more than 40,000 at similar times in previous midterm primaries before the COVID-19 pandemic. As of April 26, that number still sits at just 31,000.
At the height of the pandemic during the 2020 presidential election, Ohio and other states saw record numbers of voters casting mail-in ballots, leading then-President Donald Trump to make widely discredited claims of massive voter fraud after his loss to Democratic challenger Joe Biden. The Republican LaRose has begun to at least partly echo some of Trump's false claims, but has thus far stood by his own state's election procedures, including early voting by mail or at the polls.
"As I've visited county boards of elections this month during early voting and spoken with voters, what I've seen firsthand are the high standards of accessibility and security which make our state a national model," LaRose said in a statement. "Ohio election officials deliver integrity to our elections and customer service to voters with each ballot cast."
Early voting in Ohio will continue up until the May 3 election at local county boards of election during the following days and times:
- April 26-29: 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
- April 30: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
- May 1: 1-5 p.m.
- May 2: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
In addition, those sending in their ballots by mail can track them at VoterOhio.gov/Track. All mail-in ballots must be postmarked by May 3, but will still be counted if received up to 10 days after election day.