Election 2020: Why does the order of candidates change on Ohio ballots?

Election 2020: Why does the order of candidates change on Ohio ballots?
Questions about Ohio ballots arise after early in-person begins (Source: FOX19 NOW)

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - All Ohio ballots do not look the same and there is a reason why.

FOX19 NOW received an email from a voter asking about the order of presidential candidates on the ballot.

She said when she went to vote at the Warren County Board of Elections, the first candidates listed were Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and vice presidential nominee Kamala Harris.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were listed last on the ballot behind two third-party candidates.

She said a friend of hers, who voted at the same location, had President Trump and Pence as the first option on her ballot. Biden and Harris were last.

The reason for the difference comes down to the Ohio Revised Code, which calls for the candidates' names to be rotated.

Here is what the code says:

“The names of the candidates in each group of two or more candidates seeking the same nomination or election at a primary election, except delegates and alternates to the national convention of a political party, shall be rotated and printed as provided in section 3505.03 of the Revised Code, except that no indication of membership in or affiliation with a political party shall be printed after or under the candidate’s name. When the names of the first choices for president of candidates for delegate and alternate are not grouped with the names of such candidates, the names of the first choices for president shall be rotated in the same manner as the names of candidates. The specific form and size of the ballot shall be prescribed by the secretary of state in compliance with this chapter.”

For example, a candidate who is at the top of the ballot at precinct one will be in the second position for precinct two and so on.

The person who emailed FOX19 NOW about the candidate order also wanted to know, “If these [ballots] are read by a computer, how can the computer differentiate when a candidate’s position on the ballot is moved around?”

According to officials with the Warren County Board of Elections, the electronic voting machines are programmed to tabulate by candidate and not by the order in which they appear on the ballot.

Election 2020 | How, when, where to vote in the Tri-State

For everything else you need to know about voting in the Tri-State, click on the above link.

Copyright 2020 WXIX. All rights reserved.