LIMA — Voting in Allen County is on a slow pace with less than a week to go before Tuesday’s primary election.
Only one-fourth of the county’s 65,255 registered voters have participated in the election thus far. That includes votes casts prior the the cancellation of the March 17 primary. Since then, only 10,255 of the 15,770 requests for absentee ballots have been returned.
“Typically an election like this will get a 30 percent turnout, so we weren’t expecting a high turnout. Who knows what it will be like now. It could be worse,” said Kathy Meyer, director of the Allen County Board of Elections.
What’s happening in Allen County is reflective of what’s happening statewide.
Numbers released Tuesday by the state’s election chief, Republican Frank LaRose, show that 1.67 million people, fewer than a fourth of registered voters, had requested an absentee ballot by the end of last week.
Ohio doesn’t have any other major contested statewide races, but there are a handful of contested congressional primaries, along with numerous legislative races and votes on local issues.
State authorities postponed in-person voting hours before the scheduled March 17 primary for public safety reasons. Republican Gov. Mike DeWine said he didn’t want people to have to choose between risking their health and exercising their constitutional right to vote.
Other states are also relying on mainly mail voting, raising partisan differences and concerns among voting rights groups.
Ohio replaced it with voting that is nearly all absentee. There will be in-person voting April 28 that is restricted to disabled voters and homeless people. Ballots can be dropped off at boards of election or must be postmarked by April 27 to be counted.
Those who haven’t requested applications for absentee ballots yet are running out of time, though, especially if they’re relying on mail. The legal deadline to request your Ohio primary ballot is Saturday at noon.