Local voter turnout is strong so far this election.
"We've got a big turnout at all of our polling locations throughout the county," said Jan Kelly, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections, at a Tuesday afternoon press conference.
After polls close at 7:30 p.m., results might not be in as quickly as after the primary vote because there are two extra machines at each location in preparation for a possible higher turnout, she said.
Absentee ballots will still be counted in the days following the election as long as they were post marked Monday or brought to the board of election in person today.
Montgomery County mailed out 41,000 absentee ballots this year and has so far received back around 36,000.
So far, Kelly said there have been some minor technical problems at some of the polling locations but their technology staff and election operations workers have responded and resolved the issues.
More than 17,000 people came out to vote early in person compared to 4,600 people who voted early in person in the last mid term election in 2014. There also was a surge in absentee ballots mailed in compared to 2014.
"We've seen a great turnout here at the Board of Elections for early voting and again with paper ballots that have been mailed in," Kelly said at a Tuesday morning press conference.
All 173 polling locations in Montgomery County opened at 6:30 a.m. and polls close at 7:30 p.m. Poll workers are prepared for upticks around lunch time and again when people start to leave work, Kelly said.
While there had previously been a shortage in Republican planning to serve as poll workers in Montgomery County, more than 100 people later signed up after the Board of Elections put out a call for more sign ups and got a strong response.
Craig Ham, of Dayton, said he thinks if you want change, it is important to vote instead of complaining.
"If you don't vote, you have no reason to say anything about whatever happens in the city, county, state, because you're not saying anything," he said.
The Dayton Daily News talked to several people who were voting for the first time after turning 18 years old and becoming newly eligible to participate in elections.
Nate Burger, who was in Dayton voting for the first time, said he thinks it is important to use your right to vote.
"It's very exciting. You're able to voice your opinion. You're able to be heard. It's a great way to go out and vote for what you want and the opinions that you hold close to your heart," he said.
His mother, Amy Burger, agreed and said "I think there's a lot going on in the world today and what happens in our country impacts our entire world, so it's important to be out there and get your vote in."
In Kettering, Charlie Almoney said he was excited about today being his first time voting.
"I think it is important for people to vote because it is part of the civic duty of being an American and everyone who is a citizen of the United States should be able to participate in their government," he said.
An election observer with the Greene County Democratic Party says he received complaints from students at Wilberforce University about the law enforcement presence at the on-campus polling place.
Attorney Mike Falleur said a Greene County sheriff’s deputy arrived at the polling place around 9:10 a.m., measured to make sure he was 100 feet from the building, and then sat in his cruiser more than an hour until a poll worker asked why he was there.
Falleur said students suspected the officer was trying to intimidate voters at the university, noting its student population is predominantly black.
“Some kids are saying they were a little afraid to go over there just because he may use his authority against them,” Falleur said.
Greene County Sheriff Gene Fischer looked into the incident when contacted by the Daily News. He said the deputy was conducting a patrol of polling places around the county and was flagged down by a poll worker who was concerned that four people were handing out election-related materials too close to the polls. The deputy measured the distance from the polls and the people were outside the disallowed area, Fischer said. The deputy stayed on the scene for a few more minutes, the sheriff said, until he was dispatch to respond to an alarm drop elsewhere.
Fischer said deputies routinely patrol polling places on Election Day. He said he has another deputy on Zink Road helping Wright State University students safely access their polling location.
“Part of our job is the safety and security of the polling locations,” he said.
The polls opened across Ohio for today’s election.
The ballot is headlined by the tight race for governor between Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray.
There are hundreds of other tax issues and candidates on the ballot.
A vehicle crash into an electric pole knocked out electricity this morning in parts of Springboro, leaving two election polls without power.
Polling places at Covenant Presbyterian on North Main Street and Clearcreek Chapel on Pennyroyal Road were without power for a little more than an hour, but Warren County Deputy Director of Elections Sharif Huff said voting did not stop.
The voting machines have eight hours of battery backup power, Huff said.
Long lines could be seen at polling locations in Xenia, Kettering, Springboro and Vandalia this morning.
Polls close today at 7:30 p.m.
Here’s some other basic voting information you need to know for today:
Absentee Voting by Mail and In-Person
Under state law, voters had until noon on Saturday, November 3, to request an absentee ballot by mail from their county board of elections.
Completed absentee ballots may be returned by mail or in person. If returning an absentee ballot by mail, it had to be postmarked by Monday, November 5, and arrive at the board of elections’ office within 10 days of Election Day in order to be eligible to be considered for counting.
If returning an absentee ballot in person, it must be dropped off at the county board of elections by the close of polls on Election Day.
Voters may not return their absentee ballot at a polling location. A completed ballot may be returned by a family member.
The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. until 7:30 p.m today. Voters can find their polling location, check their registration and view a sample ballot by going to MyOhioVote.com/VoterToolkit.
Voters planning to cast their ballot in-person on Election Day should remember to bring proper identification. A list of acceptable forms of I.D. can be found on the Secretary of State’s website.
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