Secretary Husted Announces Key Takeaways from 2014 Absentee Voting & Provisional Ballot Reports
The 2014 General Election Absentee and Provisional Ballot Reports are now available.
Following is some helpful information on absentee voting and provisional ballots.
1. Ohio has one of the most expansive absentee voting schedules in the nation and all voters, no matter where they live, have the same opportunity to cast a ballot. In 2014:
- Absentee voting began 28 days prior to Election Day and included hours on two Saturdays and a Sunday to accommodate those who chose to vote early in person, and
- Voters didn’t even need to leave home to cast their ballots because Secretary Husted sent all registered voters an absentee ballot application. Other than states that vote exclusively by mail, no other state provided this level of convenience to voters.
2. From the 2010 gubernatorial election to the 2014 gubernatorial election,
79 of Ohio’s 88 counties saw an increase in the rate of absentee voting (both in person and by mail).
- The largest increases in overall absentee voting rates were Licking (8%), Medina (7.8%), Lorain (7.8%), Fairfield (7.5%), Stark
(7.2%) and Summit (7%).
3. From a statewide perspective, absentee voting rates went up by about 1%. This increase was fueled solely by the increase vote-by-mail rates.
- In 2014, 22.8% of Ohio voters cast ballots by mail up from 21.6%
- The rate of voters who cast ballots early in-person remained the same in 2014 as it was in 2010 at about 4.6% of the total vote.
4. Despite 20% lower turnout in 2014 as compared to 2010, 31 counties had more absentee ballots cast overall (as a raw number) and 51 counties saw more absentee ballots cast by mail. The increases in voting-by-mail were likely spurred by the fact that registered voters in EVERY county received an application to vote by mail from Secretary Husted. Only 16 counties saw more absentee ballots cast in-person.
5. The county with the highest rate of absentee voting in 2014 was Belmont(46.8%). The lowest rate of absentee voting was Preble(16.5%). (See rankings of all 88 counties here).
- The county that voted by mail at the highest rate was Belmont
(41.4%) and the lowest vote-by-mail rate was Miami (9.4%).
- The county with the highest rate of voting early in person was Van Wert (15.9%), while the lowest early in-person rate was Cuyahoga (1.75%).
In Ohio, our goal is to count every possible legally-cast ballot.
1. In Ohio, no one is turned away from the polls when they show up to vote. If there is an issue with the voter’s registration, if they fail to show identification, if their eligibility has been challenged or even if they have already voted, the voter is given a provisional ballot.
- This gives boards of elections the time to verify the eligibility of the voter and to ensure that they have cast only one vote. (Note: By law, the provisional voter has seven days following the election to provide information needed to validate their ballots if they have not provided eligible identification or all the required information).
2. Even with this expansive access, provisional ballots made up only 1.6% of the total ballots cast in Ohio in 2014. This is down from 2.7% in the last gubernatorial election (2010).
- 3. Provisional ballots should be considered second-chance, not second-class ballots as the vast majority of those cast are counted upon verification. In fact, 90.4% of provisional ballots were counted in 2014, which is up from 88.8% in 2010.
4. One of the most common reasons a voter must cast a provisional is because they have failed to update their voting address after moving. To ensure more otherwise eligible voters are able to cast regular rather than provisional ballots, Secretary Husted has taken steps to make it easier for voters to keep their information up-to-date with their board of elections through the online change of address system; annual mailings to voters who have moved; and the now regular exchange of data with the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and County Boards of Elections.
5. Of the 9.6% of provisional ballots that boards of elections could not verify in 2014, more than 55% were because the voter was not registered to vote in Ohio.
For more information, please contact Matt McClellan at (614) 995-2168.