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Ohio absentee voters set record in 2012 presidential election

A record 1.86 million absentee ballots were cast and counted in the 2012 presidential election, and a higher percentage of provisional ballots were counted than in prior presidential elections, according to a report Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted released Wednesday.

During the presidential election, more than 1.26 million voters cast an absentee ballot by mail, while more than 600,000 cast an absentee ballot in person - more than 1.86 million overall, according to Husted’s office.

In 2008, the total absentee ballots cast by mail and in person was roughly 1.74 million. According to Husted’s office, the increase in absentee voting resulted from two key policy changes implemented for the first time by Husted:

*All properly registered voters received an absentee ballot application in the mail; and

*Uniform days and hours for in-person absentee voting were established statewide, which increased the number of voting hours available to most voters.

Husted’s office also issued a report on provisional ballots for the 2012 election.

Of the 208,087 provisional ballots cast, 173,765 (83.5 percent) were counted, up from 166,870 (80 percent) in 2008.

Of the 34,322 provisional ballots rejected this year, the vast majority, 20,119 (58.6 percent), were not eligible to be counted because the person was not registered to vote in Ohio. Nearly 40,000 provisional ballots were rejected in 2008.

To improve Ohio’s provisional ballot process, Husted’s office said he worked with local elections officials and key interest groups to simplify and streamline the provisional ballot envelope.

In January 2012, the secretary’s office rolled out a new provisional ballot envelope that asked voters to provide only what it is required under law - printed name, form of identification and signature.

The official turnout for the 2012 presidential election was 5,632,423. The number of registered voters was 7,987,697.

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