Absentee ballot applications are being placed at the customer service desks of 12 Kroger stores throughout Hamilton County, a release from the Board of Elections states. Director Sherry Poland says the decision came about after finding many people lacked access to print the required online form.
"A lot of people have online access these days, but not everyone has a printer," Poland says, adding Ohio law does not allow for submitting electronic copies online. "The absentee application is required to be completed signed and sent," she says.
Deputy Director Sally Krisel came up with the idea to place the request forms at area Kroger stores and the grocery chain quickly agreed.
"I wish we could send them to every store; we just don't have the resources," Poland says.
Participating Kroger stores include:
- Anderson: 7580 Beechmont
- Cleves: 4001 State Route 128
- Delhi: 5080 Delhi Pike
- Downtown: 100 E. Court Street
- Forest Park: 1212 W. Kemper
- Harrison: 10477 Harrison
- Hyde Park: 3780 Paxton
- North College Hill: 7132 Hamilton
- St. Bernard: 4777 Kenard
- Oakley: 4613 Marburg
- Price Hill: 3609 Warsaw
- Woodlawn: 10595 Springfield Pike
If you can't make it to an area Kroger, you have until noon on Saturday, April 25, to request an absentee ballot. After receiving your request form, the board will mail ballots to eligible voters with a postage-paid return envelope. The deadline to return your ballot depends on whether you drop-off your ballot to the board in person or send it through the mail.
If you plan to drop it off, "in order to be counted the evening of April 28, it must be received at the board by 7:30 p.m. on April 28," Poland says. "(If sending by mail) as long as the ballot is postmarked by April 27 and received at the board by May 8 it will be counted in the official count, which takes place a few weeks later, and that is standard."
Ohio's primary election was supposed to be held on March 17, but that came to a halt March 16, only hours before polling places were to open, when Ohio Health Department Director Dr. Amy Acton ordered the polls to remain closed to protect voters from people carrying the COVID-19 virus. Late last month, state legislators passed a bill saying Ohioans can vote by absentee ballot through April 28.
This means Ohio's primary election will largely be all-absentee, with one exception: "Disabled persons who are unable to cast a ballot without help will be allowed to go to the Board of Elections in their particular counties on April 28 and cast an in-person ballot," WVXU Senior Political Analyst Howard Wilkinson says. "But everybody else's are going to be absentee, mail-in ballots, which is highly unusual for Ohio."