Election official encourages residents not to change voting method after receiving mail-in ballot

Local News

DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Tuesday was the first day for early voting in Ohio and Montgomery County residents came out in droves. Voters got in line early at the board of elections, and Deputy Director, Steve Harsman, said it’s been a smooth process. 

“We’re voting over 275 voters an hour. There’s very little wait. We have a full staff, we’ve got a great system in place.”

Montgomery County residents like voter Elizabeth Davis said she preferred to use a mail-in ballot for the ease of the process and to avoid large crowds during COVID-19.

“It was very simple. We requested our absentee ballot and got it in a few days and we just received our ballots today and filled them out and put them in the envelopes, and here we are [dropping off our ballots].”

But with a large number of people requesting absentee ballots for the same reason, Harsman said people should be careful to cast only one vote if they decide on a different method after they’ve already received a ballot in the mail.

“We have checks and balances built into the process. Obviously, if you request an absentee ballot and you return that, that’s your first priority ballot. That ballot will be checked in our database and validated.”

And there are repercussions for those who intentionally vote more than once. 

“If a voter does go to another county and casts their ballot here, then there’s checks and balances with our statewide system and post-election, we’ll turn that over to the prosecutor, the sheriff’s office will do an investigation, and if they truly did purposely cast two ballots, they very well could be prosecuted for a third-degree felony.”

If there’s any confusion, Harsman added, it doesn’t hurt to reach out to your local board of elections for clarification.

“If you do choose to go to your polling location after you’ve requested an absentee ballot, you will have to vote a provisional ballot. We encourage you to either come down to the board of elections, but more importantly, probably to vote that ballot, that way you can vote it in the safety of your own home.”

Residents of Montgomery County can drop off their completed ballots at the box right outside the county administration building 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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