Know before you go: Primary Election Guide


By Melanie Yingst - Miami Valley Sunday News



MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections is gearing up for early voting for the March 17 Primary Election.

Early Voting starts on Wednesday, Feb. 19. You must be registered to vote by Tuesday, Feb. 18, in order to participate in the primary election. The board of elections office will be open on Feb. 18 from 8 a.m to 9 p.m. for the final day to register.

Director Laura Bruns and Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway recently went over frequently asked questions the public often has during a presidential primary election.

The board of elections officials also remind the public to update any address or name change by Feb. 18. If you register or update your information after the deadline, the change will apply for the next election.

Bruns encouraged the public to double check their registration status if they haven’t cast a ballot in more than eight years.

To check your voter registration status or polling and precinct information, visit the board of elections website at www.boe.ohio.gov/miami or call (937) 440-3900. The board of elections is also seeking poll workers to run polling locations.

Bruns said staff took measures to streamline the voting process from feedback from the Nov. 5, 2019 election, which was the first time the new paper ballot and scanner system was utilized. Bruns said for this primary, the scanner will be set to only reject “over votes” and blank ballots. The scanner will bypass those who “undervote” for those who choose not vote for an issue or candidate. Increased measures will also be in place to provide more privacy for voters as they cast their vote at the scanner/ballot box as well.

“Look over the ballot before you put it in the scanner,” Bruns said. New ballots can be requested if an error is made and the “soiled” ballot will be destroyed. 

This year, the board has reached out to local schools for “Youth at the Booth” for the March 17 Primary. Students who are 17 or seniors in high school can serve as paid poll workers and receive training and, with permission, are excused from school for the day to assist at the polls. Ridgeway said they’ve reached out to several school districts to participate in the program.

Additional information includes:

• The polls will be open on March 17 from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

• In the primary, voters will declare the political party of their choice to vote on a party ballot. Bruns said there isn’t an “Independent” ballot but rather an “Issues-Only” ballot (tax levies or bond issues for example) for those who do not want to declare a political affiliation. Bruns said once a voter declares a party, the voter “stays in the party” until the next primary election. For example, in the March 17 Primary, those who wish to vote for the county sheriff must request a Republican ballot due to no opposition in the general election from another party. Those who only wish to vote “Issue-Only” will receive a ballot with levy, bond and other non-partisan issues.

• Voters who are 17 years old, but will be the age of 18 by Nov. 3, 2020, can also register to participate in the primary election to later vote in the November general election.

• The board of elections will hold its early voting at the Hobart Center for County Government, located at 510 West Water Street in Troy due to the courthouse plaza construction project.

Early voting dates and times: Feb. 19-21 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Feb. 24-28 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March 2-6 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; March 7 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; March 9-13 from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.; March 14 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, March 15 from 1- 5 p.m.; and Monday, March 16 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The Hobart Center early voting location will also include a curbside voting option for those with accessibility needs. Bruns said all polling locations will offer curbside voting on March 17 as well.

• Remember to bring proof of identity to the polls when you vote.

• Absentee ballots will be mailed beginning Wednesday, Feb. 19. Applications are available online or at the board of elections office, must include a physical signature and cannot be accepted by e-mail. Bruns said absentee voters can track the status of their ballots online.

• The absentee ballot must be postmarked (not using a private postage meter) the day before the election and received no later than 10 days after the election. Voters or an eligible family member may return an absentee ballot to the Board of Elections on Election Day until the close of polls at 7:30 p.m. Bruns said they cannot be accepted at the early voting center, only at the board office.

• To find your voting location in Miami County, search online using the board’s website. Voter information online includes the ability to print an absentee request, sample ballots, absentee ballot status, precinct map, elected officials, directions to your polling place and how to become a poll worker.

• To register to vote online, visit the Miami County’s board of education website or office or VoteOhio.gov using your Ohio driver’s license or identification card number, name, date of birth, address and the last four digits of social security number. If that information isn’t available, a paper form can be completed and turned in to the board of elections office.

By Melanie Yingst

Miami Valley Sunday News

Reach Melanie Yingst at myingst@aimmedmidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Sunday News; all rights reserved.

Reach Melanie Yingst at myingst@aimmedmidwest.com. © 2020 Miami Valley Sunday News; all rights reserved.