Election Day is less than four months away. We are seeing a dramatic resurgence of Covid 19 both in Ohio and nationally. This means that the most important election in our lifetimes is also going to be the most difficult election in our lifetimes. How do candidates campaign? How will we vote? Unfortunately, there are no clear answers to these questions right now. There are, however, things we can do.
We all need to promote our candidates.
Candidates, particularly down ballot candidates, are hampered because the usual opportunities to meet and appear in front of people in person are largely non-existent this year. We all must become part of their campaigns. That means talking our candidates up within our networks and promoting them on our personal social media. Positive words about a candidate from a trusted friend or neighbor can have much more impact on a voter than mailings or cold calls. Remember that we’re not just focused on Joe Biden. We also need to elect Jennifer Brunner and John O’Donnell to the Ohio Supreme Court (vote for both), Jamie Castle to Congress, Ryan Ottney to the Ohio Senate, Alan Darnowsky to the Ohio House (Dist. 65), Jeff Richards as County Commissioner, and Acacia Uible as Clerk of Court.
Yard signs may be more important this year. Most people like to feel that they fit in their community. Signs for Joe Biden and our other Democratic candidates at least send the message to people who vote Democratic are not isolated in their community. Signs for our down ballot candidates help create name recognition. Biden signs are currently available from CCDP. We will let you know as other candidates’ signs become available.
Most people knowledgeable about campaigning with whom I have talked believe that telephone calls are one of the least effective ways of reaching voters. However, with other means of communication denied by the virus, phone calls are one of the few avenues left. Volunteer when phonebanks are organized.
It is highly unlikely that candidates or surrogates will be knocking on doors this year to talk to voters, and unlikely voters will answer their doors. However, it may still be possible to leave candidate literature on doors and front porches (not in mailboxes). Volunteer if those efforts are organized. We need to get the word out about our candidates in every way we can.
We must encourage early voting.
No one knows now what conditions will be on Election Day, November 3. There is a risk that chaotic may be an understatement. There may also be a genuine health risk. Early voting avoids those risks. Voting by mail is safe and secure. Everyone should apply early for an absentee ballot. Boards of Elections are already accepting absentee ballot applications. Apply and get your family, friends, and neighbors to apply. Absentee ballots will start to be mailed out on October 6, 2020. Ballots may be returned by mail (68 cents postage is required). People should vote and return their ballots early. Tell people not to wait until the week before the election. Postal service became terribly slow in the last couple of weeks before the primary election ended on April 28. It will likely be slower in November. In addition to returning ballots by mail, they may be placed in the drop box outside the Board of Elections office at 76 S. Riverside Drive, Batavia at any time 24/7.
There will be early in-person voting at the Board of Elections starting October 6. Social distancing requirements and the need to keep the early voting room clean will mean that process will be slower than in years past. Again, voting by mail or by putting your absentee ballot in the drop box will be safer, quicker, and just as secure. Again, please, tell everyone not to wait until Halloween to return their ballot.
Encourage people to register to vote and to go online to check that their voter registration is up to date. People may register to vote online at olvr.ohiosos.gov. People can check their voter registration at www.sos.state.oh.us/elections/voters/toolkit/voter-registration. The deadline to register for the November 3, 2020 election is October 5, 2020.
People need to help at the polls.
As things stand now, there will be in-person voting at polling places on November 3. Many of the Precinct Election Officials who have run the polling places on Election Day for years are in the age group thought most vulnerable to Covid 19. The Board of Elections is concerned that a substantial portion of those people may decline to work this Election Day. That could create a need to consolidate polling locations which would cause voters to be confused about where to vote and could lead to lines as people wait to receive a ballot from a smaller number of poll workers. In other words, it could deter people from voting. If you or a family-member or friend can serve as a Precinct Election Official at a polling place on November 3, please call the Clermont County Board of Elections at 513-732-7375.
Stay safe. Vote early.