YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – With three weeks left in Ohio’s early voting season, directors at local boards of elections are already looking to break the records set during the last presidential election cycle four years ago.
“A third of our vote could potentially be in by Election Day,” said Mahoning County Deputy Elections Director Tom McCabe.
However, McCabe says that while crowds casting ballots in person has been steady, the real jump in the county and other local board offices has been through more traditional absentees.
“I think our volume is up by mail, people requesting the ballots be sent to their house. It’s going really well, it’s up. We should exceed what we did four years ago.”
After the first week, in-person ballots amount to just a fraction of what the three area boards have processed and sent out in the mail.
Although directors expect to see more people coming in to vote early between now and November 8, mailings are already running only slightly below what was handled for the entire 2012 fall election.
In the meantime, all this extra volume means added expenses.
“Right now we’re about 30, 35 additional workers just to process the registrations, the amount of absentees coming in and the early vote,” McCabe said.
Directors also believe the extra time to vote actually helps spread out the processing of ballots.
“You can do a little every day instead of having to do everything on Election Day, but we still have plenty of staff to help us keep up,” said Trumbull County Elections Director Stephanie Penrose.
Keeping up with early voters will include some extra hours as well.
“The first two weeks are 8 to 5, the third week is 8 to 6, the fourth week is 8 to 7, plus two Saturdays and two Sundays,” Penrose said.
People can vote early at their county’s board of elections through November 7.
The postmark deadline to mail in absentee ballots to your county’s board of elections is November 7.
At this point, directors say turnout this fall should hit 75 percent of the Valley’s registered voters.