The COVID-19 pandemic has just about shattered 2020 for everyone. On top of canceling everything we were planning for, COVID-19 has also plagued our knowledge of the voting system with bad information, confusion, and uncertainties. For the past few weeks I have been asked questions on everything regarding voting here in the City of Barberton.
After multiple calls to the Summit County Board of Elections, I began to gather some much-needed info that helped me clear up some confusion. The majority of questions I fielded were about absentee ballots and voting locations. I know others have the same questions so I want to share them.
Will there be in person voting?
Yes, there will be in-person voting just like there has always been. Some locations may enforce social distancing guidelines but there will still be in-person voting.
What is the difference between Mail-in Ballots and Absentee Ballots?
Very simply put, there is 1 difference, Mail-in ballots are sent to your home automatically while absentee ballots are requested to be sent. I blame this confusion on the national news media outlets. Ballots are different a crossed state line and media covers all which is confusing. My advice, throw every piece of “news” you got out the window in regard to mail-in vs absentee. They both count the same and at the in of the day, Ohio does absentee ballots.
While we are on the subject of Mail-in vs Absentee, I might as well explain them in detail just to clear the air. Mail-in ballots are sent to one resident automatically (without being requested). Absentee ballots are requested by each resident every year for every election. The ballot received by both methods are the same. Ballots are then sent to the Board of Elections where it is “verified”. This is where the argument comes into play with regard voter fraud and mail-in/absentee ballots. Though I will not weight in on the argument of fraud, I do have concerns with such a large increase of ballots through the mail this election. The effectiveness of signature validation does come into question for me.
Has my voting location changed?
After talking with Conner at the Summit County Board of Elections, he confirmed to me that all voting locations are remaining the same except one in the City of Barberton. For residents that live in the City of Barberton and have voted at the Church of God on Summit, you will be voting at the old Portage School (Christian Healthcare Ministries 800 Wooster RD) this year. The precincts effected are Ward 1a and 1b. Visit https://lookup.boe.ohio.gov/vtrapp/summit/vtrlookup.aspx and search your name to ensure you know where your voting location is.
Can I turn in my absentee ballot at a polling location on Election Day?
NO. There is only 3 ways to “turn in” an absentee ballot.
- Mail the ballot and have it postmarked at least the day before election (Monday Nov 2, 2020).
- Drop of your absentee ballot at the ballot drop-off box located at 470 Grant St, Akron, Ohio before Nov 2, 2020.
- Turn in your absentee ballot during EARLY VOTING located at 470 Grant St, Akron Ohio.
Can I vote in-person if I requested an absentee ballot?
Yes you can vote in person but your vote will be counted as a provisional ballot. A provisional ballot is defined as
“used to record a vote if a voter’s eligibility is in question and the voter would otherwise not be permitted to vote at his or her polling place. The content of a provisional ballot is no different from a regular ballot, but it is cast “provisionally” until election officials can verify the voter’s eligibility to vote in the particular precinct at that election.” – https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/provisional-voting/#what.