Ohio primary reports mail-in results

Chabot, Shroder elected in District One by mail-in ballots after postponed primary

Voter turnout for the Ohio primary decreased by nearly 40% compared to the 2016 presidential primary election. The absentee ballot total increased by 421%, with at least 1.9 million absentee ballots requested.

The results for the Ohio primary, postponed for more a month due to COVID-19, were announced on Tuesday after votes were collected by mail-in and drop-off ballots only.

Since the plan to extend the election was announced on March 26, Ohioans have faced several deadlines in order to deliver primary results on April 28.

First, Ohio voters had to request a ballot from a designated webpage by noon on Saturday, April 25. These ballots either had to be posted in the mail by April 27 or delivered directly to the county’s Board of Elections.

For the majority of people, if these deadlines were not met, there were no outlets to cast a vote on Election Day.

According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, there were very limited situations in which provisional ballots on Election Day were counted. 

These exceptions included those who have proof they requested a ballot and did not receive it, as well as disabled or homeless individuals who were unable to receive mail.

To ensure ballots were safe from tampering at every county’s Board of Elections, each county had the casted ballots sealed in a box with two keys: one held by a representative from the Democratic Party, and the other held by a representative from the Republican Party.

The results of all ballots received by each county’s Board of Elections had to be posted by 7:30 p.m. on April 28, though these results were not final. Instead, as long as ballots in the mail were posted by April 27, they will be counted until the final cutoff date of May 8.

According to election data, there have been at least 1.9 million absentee ballots requested by mail in Ohio, which is a 421% increase from the absentee ballot total in the 2016 presidential primary. 

However, that total would also mark nearly a 40% decrease in the total amount of votes casted.

In addition, election data shows there were around 37,000 absentee ballots requested on April 25 alone. These ballots will likely not be included in Tuesday’s totals.

The postponement of the election and subsequent decrease in voter turnout may have an impact on several races, from the presidential race to more local races.

In early April, Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped from the democratic primary, the uncertainty of upcoming primaries needed to reach the required delegate total potentially playing a role in his decision. 

Despite dropping from the race, Sanders still gathered about 17% of the vote in Ohio.

Also, on the primary ballots were candidates vying to fill all 16 of Ohio’s congressional seats. In District One, which encompasses most of Cincinnati, incumbent Steve Chabot won for Republicans, while Nikki Foster and Kate Schroder were on the ballot for Democrats. Schroder won the race fairly easily, with about 68% of the vote.

There are several races that varied based on precinct, including state house representatives in many districts, as well as district courts.

According to one report, one federal super PAC, the Growth and Opportunity PAC, has spent over half a million dollars on just the State House District 65 and 66 races, which marks an extremely high amount for relatively low stake elections. In turn, these elections were some of the closest across the state. 

Former Congresswoman Jean Schmidt won District 65 by 2% and Adam Bird won in District 66, where all three candidates were within 4% and just 500 votes of each other.

In the fall, Election Day will take place barring a similar delay to the national election that has affected several state primaries.