Ohio Poverty Law Center Releases 2020 General Election Report

Columbus, OH—Today, the Ohio Poverty Law Center published its analysis of 2020 General Election turnout in Ohio. The report, Landslide Victory for Early Voting: Ohio’s 2020 General Election, says that despite the COVID-19 pandemic Ohio recorded an historic number of voters, largely spurred by early voting options.   

According to the report, 74 percent of registered Ohio voters turned out to vote in November 2020 resulting in the highest number of voters—nearly six million—in the state’s history. The Ohio Poverty Law Center credits much of that success to expanded access to nontraditional voting methods, such as voting by mail, the use of drop boxes, and in-person early voting. In 2020, 36 percent of Ohio voters cast their ballots by mail or used secure drop boxes and nearly 23 percent voted in person before Election Day. 

The report includes national census data that shows disparities in voter turnout related to income, race, age, and educational attainment were stark. State-level data shows that in Ohio women voted at a higher rate than men and voter turnout was higher among white Ohioans than Black or Hispanic voters.  

“When you look at the raw number of voters in our last election and during a pandemic, Ohio has a lot to celebrate,” said Susan Jagers, Director of the Ohio Poverty Law Center. “But at the same time, we continue to see disparities in turnout and registration by race, income, and education levels, which means those pulling the lever for our elected officials are not representative of the broader population of eligible voters.” 

The report analyzed Ohio voter turnout for the November 2020 General Election and found: 

  • Nearly 3.5 million Ohioans—or 58 percent of voters—voted before Election Day using mail-in ballots, secure drop boxes, and in-person voting.   
  • Early voting methods were utilized across the state. In 83 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the majority of voters cast ballots before Election Day.  
  • The eight counties with the highest rates of voter turnout had above the state average rates in the use of early voting options.  
  • The 10 counties with the highest poverty rates had voter turnout rates below the state average

“The data about use of early voting options is clear. Voters are comfortable with it and our lawmakers should be too,” Jagers said. “The last election was safe, secure, and led to historic voter turnout in the Buckeye State. We should be looking at ways to build upon that success.”