While most of the presidential politics is focused on the early
voting states of Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina,
the bellweather Midwest may decide who stays and goes.
Michigan’s primary is today with voting for the presidential
candidate of choice and for several local issues, while Ohioans
vote just one week later—on St. Patrick’s Day—March 17.
Early, in-person voting is underway across Ohio. Increasing
numbers are taking advantage of the convenience to avoid long
lines on primary voting day. Lucas County is just one of three
boards of elections state-wide to designate an early voting
center, which is located in the Ohio Means Jobs Building, 1301
Monroe St., Toledo. Other early voting occurs at county boards
Early voting is available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays in Ohio.
However, early voting also will occur on Saturdays March 7 and
14, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Sunday, March 15, 1 to 5 p.m., and Monday,
March 16, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Ohioans also can request an absentee
ballot to be cast by mail, but those requests must be made by
noon on Saturday, March 14. The deadline for voter registration
for the March primary already has passed. Complete information,
including an Ohio absentee ballot is available at the Secretary
of State website:
This is the first presidential primary election in Michigan
where voters can request an absentee ballot for any reason.
However, there is no early, in-person voting in Michigan.
Absentee ballots must be requested directly from local clerks
and returned in person or by mail by 8 p.m. on the day of the
Michigan voters approved Proposal 3 in 2018, which removes any
caveats to requesting an absentee ballot. However, registered
voters still have to request a Republican or Democratic absentee
ballot in order to vote in the presidential primary. There is
also a nonpartisan ballot available—but there only will be
ballot proposals and no candidates on that ballot.
That doesn’t mean Michigan voters have to register their
political party. However, the presidential primary is the only
election where voters have to publicly state their political
preference and that information becomes a public record. Prior
to the 2018 election, voters had to give one of six reasons to
be eligible to vote absentee.
Local clerks reported immediate and dramatic absentee voting
results when the new law went into effect last year—even
doubling and tripling the number of people who voted absentee.
The presidential primary is only expected to see those numbers
explode even more.
For the traditional voter, March 10 primary voting hours at
local polling precincts in Michigan will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Presidential primary voting hours in Ohio run 6:30 a.m. to 7:30