More than a Month Later, Ohio’s First-Ever Mail-Only Primary Ends

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COLUMBUS, Ohio (Statehouse News Bureau) — Ohio’s first all-mail-in primary is done, after absentee voting was extended following the closure of polling places just before in person voting was supposed to happen on March 17.

Joe Biden won the Democratic presidential primary, and Donald Trump was unopposed in the Republican primary.

Rep. Todd Smith (R-Farmersville) lost a Republican primary for his seat. But other state lawmakers will move on to the November election.

Rep. George Lang (R-West Chester), known for sponsoring a ban on plastic bag bans, and Rep. Candice Keller (R-Middletown), who blamed the Dayton mass shooting on abortion, drag queens and gay marriage, fought for the Republican nomination for a Senate seat representing Butler County in southwest Ohio. Lang won.

Conservative Rep. Niraj Antani (R-Miamisburg), who supports gun rights and opposes the death penalty, will likely move to the Senate from the Dayton area after winning a three way primary.

Ackinson, who’s been a key figure at several protests against the stay at home order, lost her Republican primary bid to incumbent Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin). (Ackinson is in the red jacket in this tweet.)

And Republican Sandra O’Brien won the chance to face the incumbent Democratic Senator in Trumbull and Ashtabula Counties – Sean O’Brien (D-Bazetta).

Cuyahoga County received over 25,000 ballots on Tuesday alone. Results were delayed in Franklin and Hamilton Counties as well because of a large number of ballots coming in on the last day.

“That’s remarkable. We had people coming in cars to drop off their absentee ballot. We care about speed, but we care about accuracy even more,” Secretary of State Frank LaRose said.

Instead of votes being reported by precinct, they were reported all at once as an aggregate number by each county.

LaRose said the next step is to prepare for this fall, and in case in-person voting is still not safe, he says he wants changes to what he calls Ohio’s antiquated system of voting by mail. He supports a bill in the legislature to create an online absentee ballot application request.

“I’m very supportive of that, I want to see that get done,” LaRose said. “And I want to see us start picking up the tab on those return ballot postage, make that a postage paid envelope for every Ohioan in every election. And I want to be able to send out those absentee ballot requests to absolutely every Ohioan for November as well.