By Ian Ridgeway, MPA
At the end of 2022, the 134th Ohio General Assembly passed House Bill 458, which made a host of legislative changes to the administration of elections in Ohio. These changes will be in effect for the May 2, 2023, primary/special election, so we at the Board of Elections would like to take some time to help voters by explaining the changes here.
The biggest change relates to voter identification. Generally, voters will be required to provide a photo ID to vote in person, whether at our office or at their polling location. Photo ID will include a driver’s license, state-issued ID card, military ID (including national guard or VA ID card) or a US passport. Voters without photo ID will be required to cast a provisional ballot. If a voter has a religious objection to being photographed, they may complete an affidavit of religious objection.
For voters who prefer to vote by mail, identification will consist of either a driver’s license number, state ID number, last four digits of their Social Security number, or a copy (front and back) of their photo identification.
House Bill 458 also made changes to voting by mail. For those who wish to request an absentee ballot, they must now use the form provided by the Ohio Secretary of State. The deadline for those requests will now be the Tuesday before each election. Voters who need to “cure” their ballot — correcting information on their absentee ballot — will have until the Saturday after the election to do so.
The hours for early voting at our office no longer include the Monday before the election. Those hours have been spread out along the last week of early voting. The early voting hours for the May primary/special election are as follows:
• Weeks one, two, and three of voting: Voting begins the day after the close of registration for the election;
– 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday).
• Week four of voting;
– 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Monday);
– 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Tuesday);
– 7:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. (Wednesday through Friday);
– 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. (Saturday);
– 1 to 5 p.m. (Sunday).
The last major change to elections relates to drop boxes. Miami County currently has one drop box for accepting ballots, registrations, and absentee applications. This drop box is located at the northeast corner of the courthouse, and is monitored by 24/7 video surveillance. Beginning with the 2023 primary election, video footage will be available to the public via a livestream. More information on how to access this livestream will be available as it becomes available. As always, please feel free to reach out to our office with questions at [email protected] or 937-440-3900.
The voter registration deadline for the May 2, 2023, primary election is April 3, 2023.
The writer is the deputy director of the Miami County Board of Elections.