Election Day is about 70 days away. Early voting starts in 42 days. We need to be ready!
Absentee Ballots. The Board of Elections has already processed several thousand absentee ballot applications. An absentee ballot application can be downloaded from the Board of Elections website at https://boe.clermontcountyohio.gov. The Secretary of State will be mailing out absentee ballot applications to all registered Ohio voters just after Labor Day. Encourage people to submit their application early. The first day absentee ballots can be mailed to voters is October 6. I am told that ballots will be sent to voters on that first day if the voter’s ballot application was received by the BOE by the end of September.
Ohio law requires that a voter be sent an absentee ballot if her application was received by the BOE no later than noon on Saturday, October 31. While this is the law, voters should ignore it. Absentee ballots must be sent to voters by mail. Although ballots for voters who apply on Halloween will go out that same day, there is no guarantee that the voter will receive her ballot by Election Day. Please encourage voters to get their absentee ballot applications in now.
Voters should also submit only one absentee ballot application. If the same voter submits more than one application for the same election, it slows the process down and may delay issuance of the ballot. I am very aware that it has not been possible to track the status of absentee ballot applications online on Voter View. That is due to a problem transmitting data between the BOE’s computers in Batavia and the SOS computers in Columbus. The problem is being worked on. However, voters can verify that their absentee ballot application has been received by calling the Board at 513-732-7275 or e-mailing to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please let me know if someone tries either of these methods and cannot verify the status of their application. The issuance of absentee ballots will not be affected by this data transmission problem.
Under Ohio law, a ballot returned to the BOE by mail must be postmarked by the day before Election Day (November 2, 2020) and must be received by the BOE no later than ten days after Election Day (November 13, 2020). Again, voters should ignore this. I urge everyone who is going to return their ballot by mail to get that ballot in the mail no later than October 19. That is two weeks before the deadline for the ballot to be postmarked and 25 days before the deadline for the ballot to be received. We know mail service is deteriorating (probably intentionally). Ballots returned by mail must be mailed early. Please don’t let anyone take the chance that her ballot does not get to the BOE in time to be counted.
An absentee ballot does not have to be mailed back to the Board. Starting October 6, 2020 through 7:30 p.m. on November 3, 2020, absentee ballots may be returned by placing them in the drop box located outside the Board’s office at 76 S. Riverside Drive (S.R. 222), Batavia. Unfortunately, Secretary of State Frank LaRose has ordered that each county in Ohio is only allowed to have one ballot drop box in their county and the box must be adjacent to the board of elections office. Clermont’s box will be available 24/7, is constantly monitored, and will be emptied multiple times per day.
Early in-person voting starts at 8:00 a.m. on October 6 at the Board’s building at 76 S. Riverside Drive, Batavia. By law, the hours early voting is open change as we get closer to Election Day. The complete schedule is on the Clermont County BOE website home page. Social distancing will be enforced, and time and money is being expended to make the early voting as safe as possible. If you vote early in person and think it is not safe, please let me know. Please do not apply to receive an absentee ballot by mail and then vote in person.
Down Ballot Candidates. While the Democratic National Convention last week and the Republican convention this week have drawn attention to the presidential race, there are important races elsewhere on the ballot. We cannot overlook those races and our candidates.
Alan Darnowsky is running for the Ohio House in District 65. If you’ve talked with Alan at all, you know he is highly qualified to serve in the General Assembly. This is an open seat. Alan’s opponent has touted her connections to former House Speaker Larry Householder, now under a federal racketeering indictment. When she was in Congress, Alan’s opponent had her own corruption issues. It is past time to end pay for play in Columbus. Alan will help do that.
Acacia Uible is running for Clerk of Courts. The incumbent Republican has run that office for many years. I deal with Clerk of Courts offices in Southwestern Ohio on an almost daily basis. The contrast between how things work in Batavia and how they work in Hamilton County under Aftab Pureval is stark. Acacia will bring our Clerk of Courts office into the 21st Century.
Jeff Richards is running for County Commissioner. The three-member County Commission has been all Republicans for decades. The biggest thing the Commission does is allocate the County’s money. For 2020, the County government estimates it will receive $ 235,677,823.75 and spend $ 251,405,067.78. That is a tremendous amount of money. We need at least one person with some say over how that money is spent who will put people first.
As you know, this has not been a normal year. Our candidates have not had the opportunity to make the important face-to-face connections with voters at fairs, festivals, and other events. Therefore, we must all act as surrogates for our candidates, promoting them in our networks.
Poll Workers. We still need Precinct Election Officials (“PEOs”). Every precinct is supposed to have four PEOs, two Democrats and two Republicans. We do not yet have the minimum number of Democratic PEOs needed, much less any to substitute in case someone cannot make it to their polling place on Election Day. If you can, please serve as a PEO. Encourage your family and Democratic friends to be PEOs. The BOE will provide PPE for Election Day. People willing to serve as a PEO should call the Board at 513-732-7275.
Yard Signs. Six people chipped in so that we got Biden yard signs in headquarters earlier this month. A few of those signs are left. We are asking for a $ 3.00 donation for the signs. An order for Biden/Harris signs has been placed and paid for. Those signs should be in headquarters around September 3 or 4. These signs are not free, but we have paid for ours without using CCDP funds.
We also have Ryan Ottney signs and Jamie Castle signs in headquarters in Batavia. Jennifer Brunner signs are expected soon. Thanks to another handful of people, our headquarters is open part of every weekday. Alan Darnowsky also has signs. Please reach out to Alan and get a sign if you live in House District 65 (Milford, Loveland, and Union, Miami, Goshen, Stonelick, Wayne, and Jackson Townships). Putting out a Biden/Harris sign makes a statement and encourages others who are thinking about voting Biden/Harris. However, the signs for our other candidates give them crucial name recognition and communicate the importance of those races. We need those signs up just as much as we need Biden/Harris signs up.
Keep working! Stay safe.