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Secretary LaRose clarifies Ohio voting requirements

MARIETTA – The Ohio Secretary of State took to Twitter late Monday night to remind Ohioans that they don’t need a printer at home to request an absentee ballot.

“You can make your own form to request a vote-by-mail ballot,” tweeted Frank LaRose. “Just write down all the information (below) on any piece of paper and mail it in to your county board of elections.”

Information needed includes four steps.

∫ List personal information:

Your full name

Date of birth.

Full registration address including county.

Address where the ballot should be mailed.

Either your Ohio driver’s license number or the last four numbers of your social security number.

∫ State voter status.

“They have to put on there a statement that they are a qualified elector,” explained Washington County Board of Elections Director Mandy Amos on Tuesday.

Voters must write the phrase “I am a qualified elector and I’m requesting an absentee ballot for the 3/17/2020 Ohio primary.”

∫ Specify the type of ballot requested.

“This time because it’s a primary they have to put what party they wanted a ballot for, or, if they live in one of the areas that have an issue they can put issue-only,” explained Amos.

∫ Sign and date.

Additionally, it’s encouraged that voters include their email addresses and phone number on the paper mailed in. And these requests must be mailed.

“We can’t accept it emailed, we need that original copy,” said Amos. “We did get one handwritten already, and it had all of the required information. Each election we’ll maybe get one, so people could always do that but most didn’t know.”

She said voters also have the option to drop off their absentee request at the Davis Avenue office, through a secured mail slot under 24-hour video surveillance.

“We’re comfortable with the cameras there,” said BOE Chairman Dennis Sipe. “And the staff already has their thinking caps on thinking about if we’ll need additional numbers if we’re overwhelmed with mail-in ballots.”

Each ballot mailed in (postmarked by April 27) or hand-carried into the office by 7:30 p.m. on April 28, will require hand-processing by the board’s staff.

“That includes opening envelopes, flattening them, checking (personal) information and scanning the ballots to be counted,” said Sipe. “Looking at what Oregon and Washington have done this is not a hard process… when it comes time to count it, we count it. Get it in, get it to us. We’ll get it straightened out and scanned. It will count.”

Today, the county office is expected to receive its postage-paid envelopes to send out ballots that have been requested since March 17.

“We’ve had about 500 to 600 requests already,” she said. “We’re just waiting on those paid envelopes so you can mail your ballot back to us without paying for a stamp.”

Voters who registered before the Feb. 18 deadline may participate in the spring primary. Voter registration is also ongoing for the November general election.

Registered voters have until April 25 to request the mail-in option, with votes to be counted on April 28 for the spring primary.

For questions, call the Washington County Board of Elections office at 740-374-6828.

The board will hold its next regular business meeting on April 8 at 8:30 a.m.

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