Election Day is 42 days away. Early voting starts in 13 days. The time is now!
Absentee Ballots. I’ve seen a few articles recently about various media outlets sending out test mail to see how long the USPS took to deliver it. The uniform conclusion was that mail delivery is, to quote one article, “dismal.” People who have already applied for an absentee ballot by mail will, hopefully, receive their ballot not long after October 6. The Secretary of State has said that absentee ballots may be put in the mail to voters before October 6 so long as they are not delivered before October 6. I expect that a significant number of Clermont County absentee ballots will be mailed out on October 5. If people are going to return those ballots by mail, they need to vote them and mail them back as soon as they receive the ballot. Given the “dismal” mail service, waiting may ensure that your ballot will not count.
Ballots can also be dropped in the drop box outside the BOE office at 76 S. Riverside Drive (S.R. 222), Batavia any time starting October 6 through 7:30 p.m. on November 3. This is a much more certain way to get your ballot counted rather than trusting it to the U.S. mail in the era of trump.
Please remember that Ohio law says that only the voter or a member of the voter’s family may take a voted ballot to the BOE. Friends and neighbors may not. That includes the drop box. I expect the Republicans will be watching. If someone drops several ballots into the drop box at once, that is likely to get attention.
You may have read that a judge in Columbus ruled last week that the Secretary of State cannot legally limit counties to only one drop box for absentee ballots. However, because the judge did not include an order with his opinion, Secretary LaRose is taking the position that his directive that counties may only have one drop box per county still stands. My guess is that LaRose has achieved his goal of keeping the issue confused until it is too late for counties to deploy additional drop boxes if the final decision is that they may do so legally
Counting Ballots. We’ve heard trump say that the country is entitled to know who won on Election Night, and many expect trump to declare victory if he is ahead in the publicized results at some point on the night of November 3. We need to push back hard against the myth that the winner of the election is supposed to be known on Election Night.
When the U.S. Constitution was ratified in 1789, there were no voting machines. Ballots were counted by hand exclusively. There was also no radio, TV, or Internet. It was routinely many days after the election before people knew who won. In the 1876 presidential election, no one knew who won until a deal was cut in the House of Representatives in early 1877 to give the election to Ohio Republican Rutherford B. Hayes. The Constitution has not been amended since to say that only votes counted and announced on Election Night matter.
In Ohio state law does not allow vote counting to end on Election Night. Mailed ballots that are postmarked before or on the day before Election Day, November 2, must be counted if the BOE receives them by ten days after election day, November 13. Ohio Revised Code § 3505.32(A) says that the official canvas of the vote, the count which officially determines who won, may not even start until eleven days after Election Day. Results announced on Election Night are partial and unofficial.
Down Ballot Candidates. Not every important candidate will appear on the ballot with a D or “Dem” after her or his name. Historically, Democratic-endorsed candidates in Clermont do better without the party ID on the ballot. I cannot over emphasize how important it is to elect both Judge Jennifer Brunner and Judge John P. O’Donnell to the Ohio Supreme Court. Mary E. Binegar is our candidate for Ohio State School Board from District 10. And, for those of us in the 66th Ohio House District, it is important to write in Alicia Gee.
Keep working! Stay safe.