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Questions about voting in the extended primary

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NOTE: News readers have contacted the paper with some last-minute questions about voting. The News is providing answers based on information available on the websites of the Greene County Board of Elections and the Ohio Secretary of State. These answers will be updated as more information becomes available directly from officials at the Greene County Board of Elections.

What’s the deadline for requesting an absentee ballot?

By state law, the deadline is the Saturday before election day. So the deadline in the current extended election was Saturday, April 25. Voters who didn’t request an absentee ballot by then cannot vote in the extended March 17 primary election.

I requested an absentee ballot by the April 25 deadline, but I haven’t yet received one. What do I do now?

Voters who requested an absentee ballot by noon on April 25 but haven’t received their ballot can vote provisionally in person at the Board of Elections office on Tuesday, April 28. 

Greene County voters can track their absentee ballots and ballot requests at the following link:

I thought only people with disabilities and those who are homeless were allowed to vote in person in this extended election.

That’s mostly true. According to HB 197, the new law that created the process for the extended March 17 primary election, only those with disabilities and those who are homeless may vote in person at their local board of elections on election day, April 28. However, a longstanding provision in state and federal law permits a voter who requests an absentee ballot by the deadline but who does not receive it by election day to vote provisionally.

How do I vote provisionally?

To vote provisionally, you must go in person to the Greene County Board of Elections office at 551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, on Tuesday, April 28. The office is open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on that day. The office can be reached for questions at 937-562-6170.

For this extended March 17 primary election, you do not vote at your usual polling place.

Regarding the provisional voting process, local lawyer Ellis Jacobs wrote the following in an email on Monday to a group of local residents:

“[The voted ballot] goes in a sealed envelope. The staff then checks to see if the person did indeed ask for it in time. If so, they open it and count it. If not, they will not open it. People can find out what happened to their ballot and if they disagree, there should be some process to seek to have it counted. This is all new so it is hard to know exactly what will happen in every situation.”

The New is seeking clarification on the provisional ballot process from the Greene County Board of Elections and will update this post when more information is available.

I received my ballot and sent it in before April 27. But I’m confused about the correct postmark deadline. Is it April 22 or April 27?

The correct postmark deadline is Monday, April 27. Some ballot packets mistakenly indicated that the postmark deadline for voted ballots was April 22. This was an error.

My ballot packet says that if I’m mailing my ballot the week prior to election day, I should request that my ballot be postmarked. How do I do this?

Ballots that are mailed in the metered ballot return envelope provided in the ballot packet do not need to be specially postmarked, according to Yellow Springs Postmaster Rob Dunn. However, voters who are returning their ballots in a different envelope with a stamp affixed should request that the stamp be hand-canceled by a postal worker as proof of postmark.

What’s the correct date for the extended March 17 primary election? And do I use pen or pencil to fill out my ballot?

The date for the extended primary election remains “March 17, 2020.” The ballot packet suggests that voters use black ink to fill out ballots.

If my ballot is postmarked by April 27, but received after May 8, will my vote be counted?

No. State law dictates that absentee ballots postmarked prior to election day must be received by the end of the 10th day after election day, in this case May 8. 

How do I return my voted ballot to the board of elections?

There are three ways. You can mail your voted ballot to the Greene County Board of Elections, 551 Ledbetter Road, Xenia, OH 45385. The postmark deadline is today, April 27.

You can deliver it personally by 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 28, to the board of elections, which has a secure drop-box for this purpose.

You may also have a relative personally deliver your voted ballot. Relatives include your spouse, father, mother, father-in-law, mother-in-law, grandfather, grandmother, brother, sister, half-brother, half-sister, son, daughter, adopted parent, adopted child, stepparent, stepchild, uncle, aunt, nephew or niece.

More questions? Ask them in the comments below, and News staff will do its best to answer them.

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