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Time Is Running Out To Get Your Ohio Primary Ballot

ohio primary voting delay
Gene J. Puskar
Jefferson County Elections arrive to pack up the polling place at Our Lady of Lourdes church in Wintersville, Ohio, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. Ohio's primary voting was postponed amid coronavirus concerns.

The Hamilton County Board of Elections has mailed out more than 134,000 ballots for the spring primary. Elections Director Sherry Poland says as of Tuesday, just about 58% of those have been returned. That's more than usual, because the regular March 17 primary was changed to all-absentee ballots and the voting period was extended to April 28.

"This Saturday at noon is the deadline for voters to submit their applications to the Board of Elections," Poland says. "We've had a steady stream of cars utilizing our 24-hour drive-thru drop box, which is convenient for voters. They don't have to get out of their cars to submit their applications or their ballots."

At a Wednesday morning board meeting, Poland says any ballot application received by the Saturday deadline will be mailed the same day. She says they're working with the Post Office to get ballots out as quickly as possible.

The deadline to request a ballot for the primary election is Saturday, April 25, at noon. Completed ballots must be postmarked April 27, or dropped off at the board's headquarters, at 4700 Smith Road, no later than 7:30 on April 28.

The Hamilton County administrator has asked agencies to cut spending to meet a decline in revenue due to the economic slowdown from the coronavirus. Poland says her office can't make cuts. "Obviously in a presidential year, especially with what we're experiencing right now, it's not feasible for the Board of Elections to make that cut. However, we have a reserve fund, and we have worked with the county commissioners. Any shortfalls in the budget will be taken from our reserve fund," she says.

Poland says the reserve fund will keep her staff from being furloughed.