Giant voter turnout reported in Ohio


Los Angeles Times (TNS)

COLUMBUS

A crisp fall day of possibilities beckoned, so what were thousands of Ohioans doing this fine Saturday?

Standing patiently in line, waiting to vote.

In a scene rare for most American elections - though becoming common in recent weeks - Franklin County residents showed up en masse on Saturday to cast ballots before Tuesday’s election.

Traffic was jammed for miles around. The scene was as boisterous as it was touching, with food and drinks being passed out and catchy music playing.

Republican and Democratic volunteers touted their candidates to a line of people that stretched hundreds and hundreds of yards from the elections office, sandwiched between a video games seller and a music store in a strip mall.

Ed Leonard, director of the elections board, said the county, one of the most contested in a contested state, was headed for another day of giant turnout.

“Yesterday we exceeded the total number of early votes from all of 2012, and we still have three days to go,” said Leonard, estimating that a little under 6,000 people would pass through the line and into the voting booths on Saturday.

Eric Pinkett, the retired director of transportation for Columbus’ school district, said he was drawn to the early voting site by the presidential race.

“I just wanted to get it done early,” Pinkett said. On Tuesday, he plans to spend the day helping to get out the vote for Hillary Clinton.

Like Pinkett, many in the crowd were black, a group among whom early voting rates have ebbed this year compared with President Barack Obama’s two elections.

“Apathy,” Pinkett said when asked why the enthusiasm level was lower this year.

“President Obama is a hard act to follow. He’s very charismatic, very articulate. He really inspires people.”

“Hillary is more of a doer, not the fire-me-up person, but she’s in there getting it done.”

Pinkett said he spent a little less than an hour waiting in line, about average for the day. Afterward, he was headed to find out how he could help Clinton in the campaign’s closing days.

The crowd in Columbus was mostly young and nonwhite, two categories that would seem to play in Clinton’s favor.

Before Saturday, about 30,000 Franklin County early voters were Democrats and another roughly 30,000 were unaffiliated, the elections director Leonard said. Slightly more than 10,000 were Republicans.

At least two of them also waited their turn in line Saturday, to cast ballots for Donald Trump.

One Trump supporter said she came because she’d be out of town on Election Day; another said she would be working a 12-hour shift Tuesday, making voting that day impossible.

“I’m from Arkansas; I know all about Hillary Clinton,” said the second woman, who would not give her name. So how did she vote?

“Republican all the way.”

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)2016 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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