Polling stations across the state were closed on Monday. This comes as a part of House Bill 458, which went into effect for the March 2023 primary election.
Under HB 458, the Ohio General Assembly – with bipartisan support from Ohio election officials – eliminated Monday’s early voting hours to give county boards of elections enough time to prepare for the Tuesday election. The bill calls for the distribution of those six hours of early in-person voting previously available by adding hours on Monday through Friday the week before Election Day.
David Betras, chairman of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, said prepping for the special election has been a busy time for poll workers.
“It puts an extra burden on the workers. We’re checking signatures. We’re checking petitions. We have people who are filing for trustee and school board and all that other stuff,” Betras said. “This staff has been very, very busy attending to the job.”
Local Ohio counties saw the following numbers of early voters as of Monday morning:
- Trumbull: 9,496
- Mahoning: 12,942
- Columbiana: 3,565
Those who are voting via absentee ballot had until Monday, Aug. 7, to have their ballot postmarked, and the county board of elections must receive it by Aug. 12.
Those not mailing their ballot need to have it returned to their county board of elections by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 8.
Those voting in person will be able to do so from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. They will need to bring a valid photo ID and to vote at their designated precinct.
Ohio Issue 1 — also known as the ballot initiative — would make changes to the state constitution more difficult for voters. Any newly proposed constitutional amendment placed on a statewide ballot would require at least a 60% approval vote to pass. Currently, only a majority vote (50% plus one) is needed.
The issue would also require that any initiative petition filed on or after Jan. 1, 2024, proposing an amendment must be signed by at least 5% of the electors of each county based on the total vote in the county of the last gubernatorial election. This means petitioners must collect signatures from all 88 counties, instead of 44, which is the current rule.