COLUMBUS — The presidential election is under way in Ohio.
Today, voters in the military and Ohioans temporarily living overseas begin to cast ballots.
More than half a million other voters who don’t want to wait for Nov. 8 have already requested absentee ballots at a pace exceeding that seen in the 2012 presidential election. Absentee ballots may be cast and other early voters may walk into sites designated by county boards of elections to personally cast ballots beginning Oct. 12.
There is nothing on the application for a general election absentee ballot that identifies the partisan affiliation of the voter, but the major political parties get a pretty good idea who is requesting these ballots by cross-referencing their own databases.
Requests for an absentee ballot can trigger mailers and phone calls making pitches for candidates. And those contacts can disappear almost as quickly as they began once the completed ballot arrives at local boards of elections.
Secretary of State Jon Husted this week reported that 524,631 applications had been received at county boards of election compared to 485,000 at this stage in 2012.
Gina Kaczala, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said the board as of Friday had received 15,095 applications.
In 2012, a total of 67,056 county residents voted absentee in 2012, nearly 22 percent of the total 310,123 ballots cast.
“We’re pretty close [to 2012],” said Deputy Director LaVera Scott. “Because it’s a year without an incumbent, like 2008 or 2000, we night surpass 2012 a teeny bit.”
Mr. Husted’s office did a mass mailing of absentee ballot applications to registered voters, but state Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D., Kent) has criticized the omission of about a million because they haven’t voted since 2012.
“I believe in some ways they need it more than other voters, because they’re about to lose their ability to vote if they don’t participate in an upcoming election,” she said. “Now they’re missing this opportunity to get an application mailed to their home. They’re being set up to be purged in future.”
Husted spokesman Joshua Eck, however, said voters who did not receive an absentee ballot application in the mail can still log in to MyOhioVotes.com to update their registration information and request a ballot application.
Contact Jim Provance at: email@example.com or 614-221-0496.