Ohioans and Dayton area vote early in record-breaking numbers

Montgomery County residents waited in long lines on the first day of early voting Oct. 6.  MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF
Montgomery County residents waited in long lines on the first day of early voting Oct. 6. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

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Ohioans continue to vote early in record-breaking numbers with less than two weeks to go before Election Day.

This weekend, 4,200 people went in person and voted early in Montgomery County, bringing the total number of in-person early voters in the county to more than 34,000. Montgomery County Board of Elections has also received 101,000 mailed absentee ballot requests, according to data from the Montgomery County Board of Elections.

In all of 2016 about 34,000 people voted early in-person in the general election and 53,000 voted by mail.

More than 1,750 people voted at the Montgomery County Board of Elections on the first day of early voting this year, more than double the number of votes Montgomery County cast on the first day of voting in 2016.

“It’s historic,” said Susan Hesselgesser, the executive director of the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area.

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About 12,000 people have voted early in-person in Greene County, including about 1,200 who cast a ballot this past weekend. As of Sunday, nearly 35,000 mailed absentee ballot requests were processed in the county.

In 2016, about 14,000 people total voted early in-person in Greene County. About 17,000 mailed absentee ballots were processed throughout the entire election, according to Greene County data.

More than 350 people voted in Greene County on the first day of early voting, which election officials said was average.

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Hesselgesser said the League of Women Voters has a voter hotline and has not heard many complaints about early voting.

“There is so much concern over mailing in ballots, so it seems people have chosen to do early voting,” she said. “We’ve been hearing that people are excited to cast their ballot. They want to see it go in and make sure it is counted. There’s a sense of pride in waiting in the long lines and seeing it go through the system.”

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Hesselgesser said her organization hasn’t heard complaints about people getting harassed at the polls or complaints about people wearing, or not wearing, masks. They have also not gotten complaints about long lines, even though many people report waiting for quite some time to vote.

“I think more people will vote this way in future elections,” Hesselgesser said.

The early voter turnout is “indeed” more than it was last year in Miami County, said Laura Bruns, director of the board of elections.

“There are a lot of people who are really interested and invested in this election and that’s a good thing,” Bruns said.

This weekend, 1,300 people came to vote early in-person in Miami County. So far about 13,000 people have come to the Miami County Board of Elections office to vote early. The county has received about 16,000 vote-by-mail requests.

About 10,000 people voted early in-person and 10,500 voted by mail in the last presidential election in Miami County, Bruns said.

If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted. But elections officials says it is best to get absentee ballots back right away.

“The sooner you mail your ballot, the better,” Bruns said.

Bruns said Miami County might have 50% voter turnout before Nov. 3 and she “wouldn’t be surprised” if there was higher turnout overall this year.

In Warren County, more than 2,600 people voted early this weekend. On Saturday alone nearly 1,900 people cast their ballots in-person. So far about 25,000 people have voted early in-person in this election. Nearly 49,000 have requested absentee ballots by mail.

About 19,000 voted early in-person in the last presidential election and fewer than 27,000 voted by mail.

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Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office will have updated absentee and early voting numbers on Tuesday, a spokeswoman said. The Secretary of State’s office surveys county boards of election weekly and releases that data each Tuesday.

On Oct. 20, LaRose announced that 1.1 million Ohioans had already cast their ballots, which was double the rate Ohioans voted in 2016. Nearly triple the number of Ohioans are voting early in-person as compared to 2016 numbers, LaRose said.

“Inspiring. There’s no other word for it,” LaRose said in a media release. “With two weeks until election day, our record-breaking turnout is sending a message — it’s easy to vote in Ohio.”

In-person early voting numbers from Saturday, Oct. 24 and Sunday, Oct. 25:

Montgomery County - 4,216

Miami County - 1,306

Greene County - 1,261

Warren County - 2,629

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