FEATURED PHOTO: ANTHONY W. PERLATTI, DIRECTOR CUYAHOGA COUNTY BOARD OF ELECTIONS
Ideastream.org, By Taylor Haggerty, Posted April 13th 2020
More than 46,000 registered voters in Cuyahoga County have requested vote-by-mail ballots since the Ohio primary was delayed last month.
As of Friday, a total of 142,210 registered voters have requested ballots to vote by mail, according to the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. That’s an increase of about 6 percentage points since the day before the original March 17 primary, but still just 17 percent of registered voters.
Most of the new requests are for Democratic ballots, with an increase of more than 35,000, compared to 8,200 requests for Republican mail-in ballots. Nonpartisan ballot requests are up 2,760. And 50 more voters have requested ballots for minor parties, the board said.
The number of mail-in ballots is already significantly higher than previous years as the state shifts away from in-person voting amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the board of elections’ statistics. More than 82,600 people voted by mail in 2016, and about 94,700 mailed in ballots in 2012, according to voting records.
Of the ballots requested, roughly 66 percent – or 93,345 – have already been returned and counted.
More residents have taken advantage of the extended deadline for early, in-person voting since the primary voting deadline was delayed. As of Friday, a total of 11,010 Cuyahoga County voters have cast ballots in person – about 2,000 more since March 16.
All mail-in ballots must be requested by April 24. Ballots will be counted on April 28, but must be postmarked by April 27.
The deadlines may feel like they are still a long way off, but Ohio Lt. Gov. John Husted is urging registered voters to request their ballots soon rather than waiting until the last minute.
“There’s a lag time here,” Husted said during Gov. Mike DeWine’s Thursday press conference. “Let’s be realistic here folks. These have to go through the mail. You’re going to want to do it now, you’re not going to want to wait.”
Voter registration for the primary remains closed, but residents can still register to vote in the November general election.