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General Election results in a year of record turnout

November 23, 2020
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By: Kelsey Bergfeld, Coalition Manager, Advocates for Ohio’s FutureHope Lane, Public Policy & External Affairs AssociateKate Warren, Research Associate  

Despite the ongoing pandemic, Ohio voters turned out in record-breaking numbers for the General Election, with more than 5.81 million votes cast by November 3. Previously, Ohio’s turnout record was in 2008, when 5.77 million people voted in the election that led to President Barack Obama’s first term.[1] According to Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose, 72 percent of Ohio’s 8.1 million registered voters cast their ballots, beating the average statewide turnout from 2000-2020 of 65 percent.

 Seventy-two percent of Ohio’s 8.1 million registered voters cast their ballots, beating the average statewide turnout from 2000-2020 of 65 percent.

Unique challenges and considerations due to health risks associated with COVID-19 for in-person voters and poll workers significantly impacted how Ohioans cast their ballots this year. Keeping Ohioans safe meant encouraging voters to vote absentee by mail or early in-person in order to ease the burden on polling locations on Election Day. In response, Ohioans cast 3.4 million early or absentee ballots – essentially doubling the state record. With 59 percent of the total votes cast, this is the first time that more than half of the votes had already been cast before the polls opened on Election Day.[2]  

Given the normal roster of poll workers includes a great number of dedicated, but also high-risk, often older volunteers, officials also launched a campaign to recruit poll workers willing to take on the risk and responsibility of manning nearly 4,000 in-person polling location across the state. Ohioans answered the call and more than 56,000 trained poll workers opened polling locations on Nov. 3.[3]

 With 59 percent of the total votes cast, this is the first time that more than half of the votes had already been cast before the polls opened on Election Day.

Statehouse Republicans solidified and built upon their supermajority command of the Ohio House and Senate. Overall House Republicans flipped four seats and House Democrats flipped one seat. The partisan breakdown of the Ohio House in 2021-2022 will be 65 Republicans and 34 Democrats.

Ohio House Seats that Flipped Parties in the 2020 General Election

Ohio’s Senate Republicans flipped one seat in northeast Ohio giving the Ohio Senate a partisan breakdown of 25 Republicans and eight Democrats. In Senate District 16, there will be a recount, as incumbent Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) leads in the unofficial results by only 116 votes.[4]

Ohio Senate Seats that Flipped Parties in the 2020 General Election

The maps below were created by Community Solutions in partnership with Advocates for Ohio’s Future. They show the certified general election winners in Ohio’s state legislative districts.  

1 Ohio voter turnout breaks record with more than 5.8 million votes, Cincinnati Enquirer, Nov. 4  

2 Opinion: Ohio is a model for how to run an election, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 9  

3 Opinion: Ohio is a model for how to run an election, Secretary of State Frank LaRose, Cincinnati Enquirer, November 9  

4 Kunze wins, Gahanna-Jefferson bond and levy pass in certified results, but recounts coming, Columbus Dispatch, Nov. 18  

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