Early voting on Ohio's Issue 1 proves to be a popular option in the Aug. 8 election
Almost 700,000 Ohioans cast ballots in the early voting period leading up to the Aug. 8 special election on the constitutional amendment to make it harder to pass future amendments. More than 118,000 Ohioans have voted early, either by mail or in person, during the last three days of early voting alone on Issue 1.
Early absentee ballots began to be sent out on June 23, and the first ballots were returned five days later. Since then, 696,905 Ohioans have voted early by mail or in person at county early voting centers. That’s already more than the 638,708 Ohioans who voted in the legislative primary last August. And it's more than twice the around 289,000 Ohioans who voted early in the primaries in May 2022, in which seven Republicans and three Democrats were running for their parties' nominations for US Senate and both parties also had contested primaries for governor.
The only question is Issue 1, a change to the constitution that would raise the threshold for passing future amendments from the current simple majority to 60%. It would also require valid signatures be collected from all 88 counties instead of the current 44 counties. And it would eliminate the 10-day "cure period" during which petitioners who fall short of valid signatures are allowed to collect more. It comes ahead of a November vote on a proposed amendment that would enshrine abortion rights into Ohio's constitution.
The Ohio Republican Party and nearly all statewide elected officeholders have endorsed Issue 1, while Democrats are part of the large coalition that opposes it. Traditionally, results have shown Democrats are more likely to take advantage of the early vote option. But Republicans also pushed their supporters to vote early, and it had an effect in Ohio's red counties. For instance, in Delaware County, early voting quadrupled over May 2022. Early voting was up all across the state:
- urban counties: 295,651 vs. 102,428
- suburban counties: 118,344 vs. 38,284
- rural counties: 277,004 vs. 121,581
There are about 68,000 ballots that have been mailed to voters that haven't been returned. If they are, they'll be added into the early vote totals. Anyone who has voted their ballot and hasn't mailed it by now should hand deliver it to their local board of elections. They can be deposited into secure drop boxes at those locations.
Polls open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:30 p.m.
The Secretary of State's office reports that while the state has reached the minimum 27,587 poll workers needed for the election, 50 counties have not reached the state's slightly higher goal of 115% of the minimum number needed. And 22 counties have not met the minimum number of poll workers needed. But Sherry Poland, the director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections and president of the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, said county boards of elections may not have the number of poll workers that they strive for, but she's confident there will be enough poll workers to conduct the election.