Ohio is no stranger to changes in election administration and regulation. The Supreme Court determined the constitutionality of Ohio’s voter ID laws. The Sixth Circuit recently permanently enjoined the enforcement of Ohio’s campaign fair practice law that prohibited making false statements in campaigns. Ohio was highlighted in the 2004 election for extraordinarily long lines at its polls, and just eleven days before the 2014 midterm, the Sixth Circuit reversed the Southern District of Ohio, denying the right to vote to persons incarcerated but not yet convicted. Upon conviction of a felony in Ohio, convicted persons lose their right to vote while incarcerated; however, people who are in jail at the time of the election but not yet convicted of a crime are still allowed to vote. The State Board of Elections accomplishes this by sending two representatives, one Democrat and one Republican, to the jail with absentee ballots. The incarcerated individual then fills out an absentee ballot and the team from the State Board delivers the ballot.
While this is an active effort on the part of Ohio to ensure that these individuals are not disenfranchised, the practical effect of the administration of this policy is that people jailed after 6 pm on the Friday immediately prior to the election are not able to vote because a request must be received before this time. If an individual is planning to vote in person and does not request and mail an absentee ballot and is then incarcerated but not convicted, that person will not have the opportunity to cast an absentee ballot.