In Ohio, election activities start well before Election Day and continue beyond it. Through every step of it, election administration is secure and carried out with integrity. Learn more about how every vote counts in Ohio...
l Safeguards Built Into Every Step
l Election Security Q&A
l Election Security in Ohio (Video)
l What Happens After You Vote? (Infographic)
SAFEGUARDS BUILT INTO EVERY STEP
Each County Board of Elections in Ohio has 2 Republican members and 2 Democratic Members.
All precincts are staffed by a bipartisan group of pollworkers.
Bipartisan experts certify all the voting equipment.
Voting equipment is locked with tamper proof seals and safely stored behind double locked doors that require two keys and a Republican and Democratic member present.
Voting machines and tabulators go through logic and accuracy testing, and are NEVER connected to the internet.
Election Security Q&A
HOW DO WE ENSURE THE NUMBER OF BALLOTS CAST IS ACCURATE?
1. After voting concludes in an election, election officials canvass the results - twice.
The canvass is the tally of votes for any given election. Ohio performs both unofficial and official canvasses, which ensures that every ballot cast is included in the election totals.
Learn more about election canvasses.
2. Bipartisan post-election audits are conducted in each of Ohio’s 88 counties.
Post-election audits, which are conducted after every General Election, ensure that the results of the official canvass match the choices made by voters as recorded on the paper ballot or voter-verified paper audit trail. Watch this video on how post-election audits work.
The post-election audit conducted statewide in all 88 counties following the 2020 general election returned a statewide accuracy rate of 99.98%. See the Secretary of State’s press release for more information.
During primary and general elections, observers are appointed in Ohio by political parties, groups of candidates, or issue committees to observe the conduct of the election. Boards of elections must allow the presence of observers who present a valid certificate of appointment for the unofficial or official canvass, recount, or post-election audit. Potential observers should be informed of the following:
While observers are permitted to watch and inspect, observers are never permitted to handle any election materials.
Observers must not interfere with election officials or poll workers doing their jobs or otherwise slow down the operation of the polling location, board of elections, or early vote center, nor may they interact with voters in a manner that interferes with or disrupts an election.
Voting location managers, directors, deputy directors, and appointing authorities have the authority to administratively remove observers from their posts for behavior inconsistent with Ohio law or Secretary of State Directive, or that interferes with, impedes, or disrupts an election.
Law enforcement officials have the statutory duty to remove observers at the order of one of the above-listed election officials.
HOW DO WE ENSURE THAT ONLY VALID BALLOTS ARE CAST?
A voter must present a valid form of voter identification when they vote, and must verify their identification twice if they vote by mail. If an elector’s qualifications are questionable, they are given a provisional ballot on Election Day or during early voting. Provisional ballots are not counted until the Board of Elections can confirm that an elector is properly registered, and that they did not already cast a ballot.
HOW ARE VOTE-BY-MAIL BALLOT REQUESTS AUTHENTICATED?
To vote by mail, a voter must first fill out an absentee ballot request form, which requires a voter to verify their identification. Once a voter is determined to be eligible they will receive their mail ballot package, which includes a ballot, an ID security envelope, and a return envelope. A voter must, for a second time, verify their identification using the ID envelope in order for their mail ballot to be accepted. If a person who requested an absentee ballot to vote by mail shows up to vote on Election Day, they will be given a provisional ballot, which will only be counted after ensuring that their mail-in ballot was never submitted.
The Life of An Absentee Ballot (video from the Secretary of State)
HAVE MORE QUESTIONS?
Check out these election security resources from the Secretary of State's Office.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU VOTE?
After the final ballot is counted, a series of processes take place to confirm the winner(s) and ensure that the election was carried out with integrity.
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