Making Democracy Work


COVID-19 and the 2020 Primary Elections

Ohio voters, Board of Elections, poll workers, and voter advocates alike faced unprecedented challenges during the prolonged 2020 Primary Election. This public health crisis has uncovered the cracks in our elections that advocates have long been asking Ohio leaders to proactively address.

The chaos around elections began when, just the day before the scheduled March 17 Primary Election, the DeWine Administration rightly decided that it would simply be too unsafe for voters and poll workers to hold an election under the current circumstances. They unsuccessfully attempted to have the date postponed through the courts, and then closed the polls at the 11th hour by order of the Department of Health. Immediately thereafter, Secretary of State LaRose began to direct Boards of Elections to prepare for a June 2 election. But the Ohio Legislature did not agree to this request by including provisions for a primarily vote-by-mail election that would end on April 28 into the larger Coronavirus omnibus bill, HB197.

While we agreed that safe in-person voting was not possible on March 17, we also joined a chorus of stakeholders, including other voter advocates, Elections Officials, and Secretary LaRose in telling the Ohio Legislature that April 28 was too early to hold any kind of election. Given that 85 percent of Ohioans generally wait to vote in-person on Election Day, and that boards of elections, the Postal Service, and printing companies also were facing constraints because of the pandemic, capacity constraints were even greater than expected.

In states where vote-by-mail is the primary method, all voters receive ballots, there is about 8-10 weeks for voters to return ballots, and there are vote centers across each county for people to turn in their ballots or to vote in person. Ohio will never really know how many people were disenfranchised during this election, but we continue to personally hear from voters who were shut out of the process. Problems included: not realizing that they needed to apply for a ballot, not having a home printer or postage to send in their vote-by-mail application, getting denied their ballot for basic clerical errors, never receiving their ballot, confusion about when to postmark their ballot, and simply running of out time. Seniors, students, low-income, rural, minority, and disability communities were impacted.

The League of Women Voters tracked voter experiences and used every available avenue to educate Ohioans about how to vote. We were in touch with the media almost daily to ensure that the issues were covered and conducted a massive social media campaign to keep voters updated and informed. We also converted our annual Statehouse Day event to a virtual conference with more than 300 people attending. Our phenomenal speakers focused on the issues central to this election and beyond.

We, alongside our partners and members, have advocated tirelessly to ensure that Ohio voters were not disenfranchised due to the global health crisis. While there's no perfect way to run an election during a pandemic, legislators could have done so much more to protect Ohio voters and ensure that no eligible person was disenfranchised. To learn more, check out the In the News page on our website to see press releases and advocacy letters to the Ohio General Assembly.

Now is the time to move forward on critical reforms to make our elections more secure, efficient, and accessible. We need every one of you to fiercely advocate for the changes needed to make Ohio election-ready even if public health concerns persist. Your voice has been "Making Democracy Work" for 100 years, and continues to make a critical difference today. Be sure to register for our Advocacy Forum on May 13 to learn more about how much needed, immediate changes needed to improve elections in Ohio and how you can make help advocate for them.

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    Voter Information

    Find the facts about voting in your state at

    Who Can Register to Vote You can register to vote if you are a U.S. Citizen, are at least 18-years old on or before the day of an election and a resident of your state, county and precinct for at least 30 days. If you will be 18 on or before a general election, you may vote for candidates in the primary. Must not be incarcerated for a felony conviction under the laws of this state, another state or the United States. Must not have been declared incompetent for voting purposes by a probate court. Must not have been permanently disfranchised for violations of the election laws.

    When to Register To vote, you must register if you have not registered before, are a new county resident or have not voted at least once in the past four years. Registrations are taken throughout the year, but you must register 30 days before an election to vote in that election.

    Where to Register You can register at the Lucas County Board of Elections; municipal buildings in Maumee, Sylvania, Oregon, Waterville, Whitehouse and Ottawa Hills; the Heatherdowns AAA; UT Student Union Building; public high schools; public libraries; at the office of any Bureau of Motor Vehicles; during Voter Registration Drives or by mail upon requesting a registration form from the Board of Elections. The form must be returned 30 days before an election.

    How to Change Your Name You can report a name change to the Board of Elections by mail or at the polling place when you vote.

    How to Change Your Address To change your address within a precinct, report in advance by mail or in person to the Board of Elections or on election day at your former polling place. If you move from one county to another in the state, you may report your address change by mail 30 days before an election. You may report the change and vote the day of the election at the Board of Elections.

    For more information You can reach the Lucas County Board of Elections at 419-213-4001, write to Board of Elections, One Government Center, Suite 300, Toledo, OH 43604 (Fax: 419-213-4069) or visit the Lucas County Board of Elections

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    Click Here for More Information on Covid-19 and the 2020 Elections

    Ride to the Polls

    "They Represent You"

    They Represent You is a free publication of the LWV-TLC that lists all the elected officials in the county. Lucas County has 5 cities, 6 villages, 11 townships and 11 Boards of Education. Every league is tasked to publish a guide or a directory. LWVTLC's directory has changed over the years becoming more inclusive of all elected offices, not just mayors but also city councils and county officials, judges, township trustees, village officials and boards of education as well as the pertinent state and federal officials. In addition, we also include basic information about registering to vote and voting. The TRY is published every year following the November election and is available online on our website.

    As changes occur the website version is updated. We list all the pertinent contact information including party affiliation, if appropriate, along with the year their term expires.

    The TRY is one of the most popular among the public things we do. We disperse them through the library system to anyone who asks. They are supported by our Ed. Fund money and we typically print 2200 copies. Any questions about this committee, contact Ann Fabiszak Payne at

    Directory of Public Officials

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    Register or update your voter registration on the Ohio Secretary of State Website

    Verify Your Vote

    Lucas County Board of Elections