Hamilton County Advises Voters To 'Make A Plan' Leading Up To Election Day
Leaders with the Hamilton County Board of Elections are making final plans for the Nov. 3 general election. The deadline to register to vote in Ohio is Monday and early, in-person voting for the November election begins Tuesday.
County Commission President Denise Driehaus said Wednesday the message to county voters is "make a plan."
"There are multiple ways to vote safely in this election," Driehaus said. "You can request an absentee ballot and mail it in. You can request an absentee ballot and drop it off at the Board of Elections in the drop box in Norwood; you can vote early in person at the Board of Elections; or you can vote on Election Day."
Hamilton County Board of Elections Chairwoman Gwen McFarlin said there will be more space for early voting this time at the board office in Norwood.
"In our primary election we had 52 booths and 10 checking in areas," McFarlin said. "Now we have 120 booths and tables with 30 check-in stations. So when you walk into the building, you will be greeted and met by a staff person who will assist you to where you're going to vote; as well we have a special area for individuals with special needs."
Plus, because of the coronavirus pandemic, there will be extra attention on cleaning and sanitizing.
"We will clean every polling area where a person actually physically stands after each person; we have hand sanitizer, masks and even gloves if a person requires that or wants that," McFarlin said.
The pens people will use for marking their ballots will only be used once and then thrown away.
The Hamilton County Health Department has visited the board's office for an inspection. Health Commissioner Greg Kesterman said the facility is well prepared.
"We looked at plans and practices, talked with them about sanitizer and what would be required from a pandemic perspective to make sure that the elections are operated safely," Kesterman said. "I'm very impressed with everything they did and their proactive steps. Actually, we had very few recommendations because they were so proactive."
As of Wednesday morning, the Hamilton County Board of Elections had received 154,000 applications for absentee ballots. Those will start being mailed Tuesday.
Absentee ballots must be returned to the board drop box by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. If you are mailing back a ballot, it must be postmarked by the day before Election Day and received within 10 days after Election Day.
Click here for information on early voting hours at the Board of Elections.