POLLS CLOSE: Dayton area waits for results in key election races

Few voting issues noted in area, turnout reported heavy.

Ohioans have cast ballots today in key federal, state and local races that will shape government leadership for the coming years.

The polls closed at 7:30 p.m. today, and election officials said the turnout statewide may top the total number of votes cast in 2018′s mid-term election.

Area county boards of election reported steady voting, but no issues today with casting ballots. A state elections official said he was not aware of any reports of voter intimidation.

From what I have heard, it has been very smooth sailing today,” Aaron Ockerman, executive director of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, said in an email. “Long lines everywhere, but I think that is just a result of high turnout.”

The League of Women Voters of Ohio also reported few issues with casting ballots.

“We were really pleased at how Election Day started,” said Jen Miller, league executive director. “Overall, we saw very good operations coming out of the gate today.”

But heightened emotions nationwide are present in Ohio as well, and the coalition took reports of voters being heckled, arguments between poll workers and campaigners, and disputes between candidates, Miller said.

“We are getting a number of calls about tension at polling locations,” she said. “These have been across the state.”

In-person early voting surpassed 2018 numbers, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. This year’s totals in Ohio were 549,771, compared to 429,521 at the same point four years ago, according to the state.

Combined with a drop in the requests for absentee ballots from four years ago, the total number of early votes cast passed the previous record set in 2018 by 6 percent, according to the most recent data provided to the Secretary of State’s Office by the 88 county boards of elections.

Those numbers are consistent with what some local counties have seen.

Greene County’s Board of Elections is projecting a turnout of perhaps 57% with about 24,000 early in-person and absentee voters, said Director Lyn McCoy.

“Other than it being brisk and steady at the polls, we really don’t know,” she said.

Miami County has a similar forecast, BOE Director Laura Bruns said. About 16,670 early in-person and/or ballots were either cast or mailed.

About 900 absentee ballots are outstanding and Bruns said she projects a turnout of 55 to 60%.

About 30,000 ballots had been cast in Warren County by 1 p.m. today with about 20,000 by 10:45 a.m., according to Brian Sleeth, board of elections director.

“It has been steady all day,” he said.

In Montgomery County, a Kettering polling location at the Marshall Road Church of God was more crowded than usual for mid-day.

Just inside the door, 10 to 15 people were waiting to be checked in. Then voters moved to a second line of 10 to 15 people waiting to use the site’s four electronic voting machines.

Some voters chose paper ballots rather than waiting in the second line. At 11 a.m., the entire process took just under 30 minutes.

That could help boost turnout in Montgomery County above the numbers of four years ago, which came in at 55.21% of registered voters, said Sarah Greathouse, board of elections deputy director.

“It’s hard to say,” Greathouse said. “Just judging by early voting, we’re expecting definitely over 55%. It could go higher than that. But it’s hard to say.”

All polling locations are open, and so far, “everything is going really well,” she said.

Clark County Board of Elections Director Jason Baker said this morning “countywide, everything is going great … We’re monitoring everything right now and it is nice and steady out there.”

Early voting also saw a bump from four years ago in Clark County, he said.

Baker estimated the county had about 500 more in-person early voters than in 2018 and 130 to 140 mail-in more ballots.

“We had a nice and steady weekend Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday,” he said.

Ohio saw a turnout of 55.72% of its 8,070,917 registered voters in the last mid-term elections in 2018, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Clark County had a 54% turnout, Greene County 70.87%, Miami County 49.59%, Montgomery County 55.21% and Warren County 63.02%, records show.

Turnout at the Nutter Center in Fairborn created lines at 6:30 this morning and by 9 a.m. that location had about 200 ballots cast. Voters in downtown Springboro were in lines of about 10 or so by 7 a.m. at the Eagles 4014 Lodge on Ohio 73.

Ohioans voting in-person today should do so at their polling location. If you are unsure of your voting site, go to VoteOhio.gov and click the “find your polling location” link.

Anyone who opted to vote by absentee ballot but did not mail that ballot yet should bring their absentee ballot to their county board of elections drop box by 7:30 p.m. today, according to Montgomery County BOE deputy director Sarah Greathouse.

What’s at stake

Today’s election includes races for U.S. Senate and Congress, the winners of whom will make key decisions about the national economy.

It includes battles for top statewide offices including governor, secretary of state and state Supreme Court at a time when those positions will have a say in how Ohio’s redistricting controversy plays out for years to come.

Locally, residents will elect candidates to state legislative seats, at a time when state law on abortion is in flux and could be reset.

And at the closest level to home, the election will decide county leadership positions, plus a litany of city, township and school tax levies that affect residents’ service levels and wallets.

Voter resources

** Voter’s guide: If you still want more information about the candidates before you vote, check the Dayton Daily News Voter’s Guide here.

** Tip line: If you see concerns at your polling place, call our newsroom’s tip line at 937-610-7502.

** Other questions: If you need information on how to vote, or how to contact your county board of elections, click the link to this article.

** Results later: Follow DaytonDailyNews.com for live election results after the polls close at 7:30 p.m., and get full results and coverage Wednesday morning at ePaper.DaytonDailyNews.com.