Nearly a third of Montgomery County voters opt for absentee ballots so far

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Voters should take care to fill in the oval completely on their absentee ballots and not put other markings on it.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

The number of Montgomery County voters who requested absentee ballots to vote in the November general election or already voted in-person at the board of elections is approaching one-third the number of registered voters in the county, elections officials said Tuesday.

“These numbers are really big,” Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly said Tuesday.

The number of absentee ballots requested is 110,951 and growing. About a third of those have already been returned, Kelly said, many at the drop boxes at the board of elections office. Montgomery County has 372,861 registered voters.

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“Our mailbox outside, we’re emptying it as quickly as they’re filling it,” she said.

As of Tuesday morning, 9,395 people had voted in-person at the board of elections, including some who used curbside voting set up on the first floor of the county parking garage for people who can’t vote inside for medical reasons, including possibly having COVID-19.

In the 2016 general election, 90,598 absentee ballots were issued and 34,425 people voted in the board of elections office.

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“We’re going to surpass that number,” Kelly said.

Kelly said they brought on two dozen more workers to process ballots and prepare for the election. She asked voters to understand that it can take a couple days after a ballot is received at the office before it’s processed because each has to be opened, flattened and processed by hand.

The Ohio Secretary of State is sending out absentee ballot request forms to voters who registered after Labor Day and didn’t get the first batch of forms. Kelly advises people to make sure to include their date of birth on the request form, as that’s a line that is often missed, which can slow down processing.

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Likewise, she advised voters to remember to sign their ballot before sending it back. She said the board of elections goes through multiple steps to verify the validity of voters' signatures that takes into account that signatures change over time. In this year’s primary election, 59 ballots were not counted in Montgomery County because of signature problems, often because the signature was missing altogether.

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