This article provided by Stanford University’s Big Local News program and Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Over the six weeks of Ohio’s historic mail-in primary, Clermont County Board of Elections Director Julia Carney and her small team of staffers spent hours processing over 1,000 absentee ballot applications per day, the papers piling up in four stacks on the counter in their office.
Armed with hand sanitizer and masks, and social distancing as much as they could, the team processed over 40,000 applications by Election Day. In each of Ohio’s 88 counties, boards of elections were working around the clock to do the same: Even with a low percentage of registered voters showing up to the polls, primary voters submitted absentee ballots in numbers that exceeded those of a higher turnout general election.
Big Local News requested primary cost summaries from Ohio’s 88 counties, which detail expenses paid toward the primary after March 27, 2020. Twenty six provided records in a standardized format used by Ohio’s Secretary of State.