YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With just 50 days until the election, officials are urging people to register to vote and, for those who need to, get their absentee ballots in as soon as possible.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Monday that the state has received 524,000 absentee ballot applications, which is roughly 40,000 more than it had at this time in 2012.
So why are so many people not going to the polls on Election Day?
Rhonda Warren has worked at polling locations in previous elections, and says the busy atmosphere on Election Day is “chaotic.”
“People are coming in, and you don’t know what time you may get hit all at once with a lot of people. You really can’t predict what time people are going to come, and that’s why I use the word ‘chaotic,'” she said. “Much more busy than the regular elections and the crowds were overwhelming, I’d say.”
Ohio is considered a “No Fault Absentee State,” meaning voters don’t need any particular reason to excuse themselves on Election Day.
Mahoning County is seeing its fair share of absentee ballot applications.
“We’re pushing 8,000 absentee applications, which is almost double what we did four years ago, and eight years ago,” said Mahoning County Board of Elections Deputy Director Tom McCabe.
He says it’s partly a convenience and political interest.
Mahoning County has more than doubled the number of registered Republicans for this presidential election, with a large portion of voters using the absentee ballot option.
“We’re expecting anywhere from 35 to 40 percent of our voters to vote absentee prior to November 8,” McCabe said.
Absentee ballot applications must be received by boards of election no later than November 5. They need to be postmarked by the day before the election and arrive at the board of election within ten days of Election Day.