Ohio Election Officials Say Second Primary Must Be August 2

by J.D. Davidson


Ohio election officials said the state could not hold its second primary any later than Aug. 2, despite an Ohio Supreme Court ruling that suggested the state could easily hold an election later in August or even September.

The Ohio Association of Election Officials said overseas and military ballots, along with other requirements for testing voting systems and proofing ballots, make Aug. 2 the last day to have a primary for state legislative offices if the same rules are to be met for the November general election.

“Ohio simply must hold its second primary election on Aug. 2 if we are to successfully navigate the rest of 2022,” OAEO President Brian Sleeth said in a news release. “Aug., 2 is the key to both a successful second primary and a successful general election in November.

When the court struck down the Ohio Redistricting Commission’s fourth set of state legislative maps last week, it noted in its majority opinion that several other states have primary elections after Aug. 2, some even in September.

It also said Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s filing in a federal lawsuit that said maps must be in place by April 20 for the state to hold an Aug. 2 primary should not matter.

“However, we fail to see how this contention should motivate us – or the federal court for that matter – to adopt a plan for the 2022 state legislative elections by April 20. It is unclear why August 2, 2022 is the last available date for a primary election in Ohio. We note that several other states will have primary elections on August 16, 2022, or later, including four states that will have their primary election in September,” the opinion reads.

The election officials outlined the state’s unique voting regulations, along with issues involving incorporating new district maps into computer systems.

“The Ohio secretary of state succinctly, clearly and factually laid out to the federal district court why Aug. 2 is so important,” OAEO First Vice-President Sherry Poland said. “Ohio has unique and important deadlines that will be negatively impacted if the election date is set any earlier or any later than Aug. 2.”

While LaRose, who estimated a second primary could cost the state $20 million, has recommended Aug. 2 as the primary date, the Ohio General Assembly has yet to officially set the date. Also, the Ohio Redistricting Commission has not set any meetings since last week’s ruling.

Early and absentee voting for the state’s May 3 primary, which consists of statewide races, local races and local issues, is ongoing. LaRose said on Tuesday that 125,118 absentee ballots had been requested, and 44,994 have been cast statewide.

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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square. 
Photo “Frank LaRose” by Frank LaRose. Background Photo “Voting Booths” by Tim Evanson. CC BY-SA 2.0.



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