10 percent of registered voters in N.E. Ohio have cast ballots
Plain Dealer Reporter
Already one in 10 registered voters in Northeast Ohio has cast a ballot for president, local candidates and tax issues on Nov. 4 ballots.
Numbers supplied by six counties show that 203,289 of their 1,956,232 registered voters have either mailed back completed absentee ballots or walked into board offices and voted in person.
By Friday, more than 20 percent of all registered voters in those counties had requested absentee ballots.
In Cuyahoga County, 246,503 absentee ballots have been sent to voters who requested them. The county has a goal of 300,000 early voters.
Elections officials say early voting has caught hold because of the high interest in the presidential contest and encouragement from the Ohio secretary of state to avoid long lines on Election Day.
Summit County Deputy Elections Director Bryan Williams said more than 1,000 people a day have been walking into the county Job Center on East Tallmadge Avenue in Akron to vote early.
He predicts the number will double next week.
Nearly 15 percent of Summit County’s registered voters have already cast ballots — the highest number in the six counties.
Williams attributed the high number to a change in Ohio law that allows voters to cast absentee ballots without giving a reason for doing so.
Susan Strasser, deputy director in Medina County, said her board had to open space in another part of its rented building to accommodate the 4,677 people who have voted in person so far.
Portage County Deputy Election Director Lois Enlow said the early turnout won’t be heavy enough to dull an anticipated large turnout on Election Day.
She said her employees still will work late into the night before the board can report its final unofficial totals.
Early vote numbers were unavailable from Lorain County.
Mailed early-voting applications must reach boards by noon Saturday.
Returned, filled-out ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 3. Absentee ballots can be returned to boards in person by 7:30 p.m. Nov. 4.