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Early voting, absentee balloting underway in key elections that culminate Nov. 6

By La Prensa Staff

Close governor’s races and key mid-term congressional elections are expected to draw Latino and other voters in big numbers to the polls in Ohio and Michigan. The early voting and absentee ballot numbers bear out that prediction as the Nov. 6 general election quickly approaches.

 

Voting is directly administered by county boards of election and supervised by their respective Secretary of States.  Ohio has 88 counties and Michigan has 83.

OHIO

Recent polls show a statistical dead-heat in the Ohio governor’s race between Republican Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Democratic candidate Richard Cordray, the former chief of the national Consumer Protection Financial Bureau. That may draw more voters into the election, as past tight races in Ohio have led to higher voter turnout.

In addition to statewide races, there will also be 1,661 local issues across Ohio and a number of local races, which voters can obtain additional information on by contacting their county board of elections. Turnout statewide probably won’t top the 70 percent-plus during presidential-election years but could outpace previous gubernatorial election years-- 41 percent (3.1 million of 7.7 million registered voters) in 2014 and 50 percent (3.9 million of 8 million) in 2010.

Early, in-person voting in Ohio began Oct. 10, 2018, along with absentee voting by mail, one day after the deadline to register to vote or update a voter registration.

Weekday in-person voting runs from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday, Oct. 26. Boards of elections across Ohio will be open Saturday, Oct. 27, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., then extended weekday voting hours from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. through Nov. 2.

Weekend early voting hours will be available just before Election Day: Saturday, Nov. 3, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Nov. 4, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. The last day of early voting will be Monday, Nov. 5, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The deadline to request an absentee ballot in Ohio is noon on Saturday, Nov. 3. Mailed absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the Nov. 6 general election, but voters are able to drop off absentee ballots at their county board of elections office until 7:30 p.m. on Election Day. Polls will be open in Ohio from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 6.

 

MICHIGAN

In Michigan, Democratic former county prosecutor Gretchen Whitmer and Republican state Attorney General Bill Schuette are vying for governor. Most recent polls have shown Ms. Whitmer with a comfortable lead, also suggesting Democrats have a fair chance to unseat some Republicans in mid-term congressional races.

Michigan does not have early voting, unless voters choose to cast an absentee ballot prior to Election Day. However, Michigan Proposal 3 on the November ballot would change all that.

Proposal 3 is a proposed constitutional amendment which, if passed, would add eight voting policies, including straight-ticket voting, automatic voter registration, same-day voter registration, and no-excuse absentee voting, to the Michigan state constitution. All of those policies listed would occur during the 40 days before an election and are new policies.

The proposed constitutional amendment would allow a U.S.citizen who is qualified to vote in Michigan to become automatically registered to vote when applying for, updating or renewing a driver's license or state-issued personal identification card, unless the person declines.

An eligible Michigan voter would be able to simultaneously register to vote with proof of residency and obtain a ballot during the two-week period prior to an election, up to and including Election Day. There would no longer be one of six reasons required to obtain an absentee ballot.

A voter also would be allowed to cast a straight-ticket vote for all candidates of a particular political party when voting in a partisan general election. 

 

Some of these voting policies outlined in Proposal 3 already exist in state statute, but not the state constitution, while most others would be altered policies or new policies.

Proposal 3 also would allow eligible persons to register to vote by mail until 15 days before an election, whereas current law allows them to register to vote by mail until 30 days before an election. The ballot initiative would also constitutionalize existing law providing that military members and overseas voters receive an absentee ballot at least 45 days before the election.

Proposal 3 would add language to the constitution to provide for the use of secret ballots and election results auditing.

Michigan Proposal 2 is a constitutional amendment that seeks to end gerrymandering in drawing up Congressional and statewide legislative districts in Michigan. At six pages long, election observers call it one of the most complex ballot issues they’ve ever seen at the state level.

But the proposal forwarded by the group Voters not Politicians has survived enough court challenges to make the Nov. 6 ballot. Michigan is presently one of 28 states which allows the legislature to draw redistricting maps. Elections experts call Michigan one of the most gerrymandered states in the nation, where Democrats won more than half of the votes for the statehouse in 2016, but Republicans won most of the seats.

If the ballot initiative passes, a nonpartisan commission would be in charge of redrawing district lines. A commission of 13 independent citizens would meet every decade after the federal census to redraw districts that are more politically competitive. The commission would be made up of four Republicans, four Democrats, and five independents, overseen by the Michigan Secretary of State, including choosing from the commission applicants at random.

 

Copyright © 1989 to 2018 by [LaPrensa Publications Inc.]. All rights reserved.
Revised: 10/16/18 10:49:47 -0700.

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