Early voting sets record numbers in Butler, Warren counties

Election Day voting hours

Voting in Ohio is from 6:30 a.m to 7:30 p.m. at your assigned polling location. For polling location information, visit www.butlercountyelections.org or www.warrencountyboe.us.

With a surge of voters since Friday, Butler and Warren counties broke their previous records for the number of people voting early in-person, according to officials at each boards of elections.

Explore>>> VOTERS GUIDE: Information on 178 races and 88 candidates

More than 57,000 people voted in Butler County between in-office and vote-by-mail ballots, which is nearly an 18 percent increase over 2012’s general election. That number could top 60,000 when mailed ballots postmarked by Monday are received, or are hand-delivered to the Board of Elections office by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

“It means voters are participating,” Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Jocelyn Bucaro said. “We like to have an election in which voters vote. It also means that there’s going to be fewer voters voting on Election Day which will take a little bit of the pressure off our polling locations.”

In Warren County, more than 45,000 early votes were cast in early voting this year, which is a 22.5 percent increase over 2012.

“I’m just glad that early voting is over with,” said Brian Sleeth, Warren County Board of Elections director. “It’s hard to get ready for Election Day when we’re still voting at 2 p.m. on Monday.”

Explore>>> BALLOT WATCH: Our team investigates your voting problems

Early voting this election cycle has been pushed heavily by both presidential campaigns.

“With every year, early voting becomes more a part of the culture instead of some extraordinary new thing,” said David Niven, a political science professor at the University of Cincinnati.

Early voting is viewed as something that generally favors Democrats, in part because ever since President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign the party has strongly focused on promoting early voting. But Republican campaigners are increasingly pushing it as well.

There’s “an enormous organizational investment in early voting, especially on the Democrat side,” Niven said.

The last two early voters at the Butler County Board of Elections office Monday afternoon said convenience drove them to cast their ballots early.

Both Bridget Wright, of Fairfield, and April Nixon, of West Chester Twp., have to work on Election Day and said they had doubts they would be able to make it to their polling location to vote.

“It was just a convenience to come early,” Nixon said.

And joking about her 11th-hour voting, Wright said, “In and out. I don’t know about earlier but coming in at the last minute it was great.”

People waited at most about 15 to 20 minutes to vote Monday, but most waited less than that to vote. On Sunday, when the elections office had their longest lines but shortest in-office early voting window, people were waiting upwards of 30 minutes to vote.

From Friday through Monday, more than 10,000 people voted at the Butler County elections office in Hamilton.

“Whenever there’s an open seat for the White House it means the voters are more attuned as well,” Bucaro said.

Explore>>> VOTERS SPEAK OUT: What I would ask the next president

Voters can deliver absentee ballots in person to the board of elections by close of polls at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The polls open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Staff writer Lynn Hulsey contributed to this report.

About the Author