Statewide Absentee Ballot Requests Coming To Ohio Voters

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Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is very aware this is a presidential election year.

It's only June, but November and the General Election are very much on his mind.

He wants you to be thinking about the election, too, and for more than one reason.

First, in terms of recruiting poll workers.

"It takes 40,000 people on Election Day to run our elections at over 9,500 polling locations to serve over six million voters," explained Husted. 

Secretary Husted has been travelling around the state, including a stop in Athens, to help raise awareness about the need for more workers and to encourage Ohioans to get involved.

"We're trying to recruit as many poll workers as we possibly can, that's one of things that we always have challenges with: making sure that there are plenty of people to work at the polls, that they're properly trained and the elections process runs smoothly," said Husted.

Husted says potential poll workers need not be put of by lack of experience.       

"We're going to give them the training they need to know what the rules are, to know what the proper form of identification is. So, that when someone comes in, they know what they need to provide to be able to cast that day. And if for some reason they don't have that, and they are not going to be able to vote, that we can then help them cast a provisional ballot, which is essentially a second chance," said Husted.  "If you weren't prepared, were in the wrong location, maybe you forgot your ID, helping voters get access to a provisional ballot to be able to cast that day."

The Secretary of State's office also is working to prepare for the 2012 Presidential election with a statewide absentee ballot request mailing in late August. The forms will be sent to every properly registered voter.  Husted says it is the General Election will be the first time for such an initiative. 

"At that point in time, they can fill it out, send it back in to the Board of Elections, the Board of Elections will send you your ballot, and then you can cast your ballot and put it back into the security envelope with your proper identification on it and then cast your ballot via the mail," said Husted.

Six million absentee ballot request forms will be sent out. This method may be just the ticket for a voter who hasn't done all his homework.

"They may know who they're going to vote for President or US Senate, but then they get down the ballot and they say 'county commissioner or local judge, I don't know who those people are, let me do my research and find out who they are and cast my ballot that way'," said Husted. 

The mailing will be paid for using available Help America Vote Act funds.