Just a week from traditional Election Day voting, more than 35% of registered voters in area counties have either voted in-person or been provided an absentee ballot as requested.
According to information given to The Crescent-News by board of elections officials in six area counties (Defiance, Fulton, Henry, Paulding, Putnam and Williams), 50,023 voters had been either provided an absentee ballot or voted in-person by Monday afternoon. This is 36.3% of those counties’ 137,798 registered voters.
Early voting began in all 88 Ohio counties on Oct. 6, and will continue through Monday. The deadline to request an absentee ballot is noon Saturday.
The early period allows voters to cast their ballots in-person at their respective county board of elections office — as opposed to their precinct’s polling station — or receive and return an absentee ballot via the U.S. Postal Service.
In-person early voting continues until 7 p.m. The remaining schedule is:
• Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.
• Saturday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
• Sunday, 1-5 p.m.
• Monday, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Early voting figures as of Monday afternoon in area counties follow:
According to Defiance County’s board of elections director, Tonya Wichman, her office had sent out 5,085 absentee ballots of all kinds in the mail by early Monday afternoon, while 5,492 had voted in-person during the early period.
The total (10,577) represents a little more than 40% of the county’s 26,411 registered voters.
“We have had a steady stream of voters, but our vote center staff has done an amazing job of getting the voters through quickly and safely,” Wichman stated. “Each voter is allowed in for check-in when the next voting machine is open, and once their vote is cast, the next voter is called in to sign in. The staff is sterilizing machines and tables throughout the day to keep everyone safe, and we are asking voters to wear a mask as they come in. If you do not have a mask available, we have them available at the vote center.”
Wichman also reminded the public of electioneering restrictions.
“We would like to remind voters that there is no electioneering within 100 feet of the vote center and vote locations on Election Day,” she noted. “This means you can’t wear a candidate mask, hat or clothing to the polls to vote. Please plan ahead as you will be asked to remove these items. And remember to thank your poll workers. They are all working very hard to keep this election running securely, safely and efficiently.”
Fulton County’s board of elections director, Melanie Gilders, noted Monday afternoon that her office had sent out 5,080 absentee ballots, while receiving requests for 252 others. Some 4,670 people had voted in-person during the early period.
The total (10,002) represents almost 34% of the county’s 29,495 registered voters.
“Early voting has been great,” Gilders stated. “We have stayed consistently busy since the beginning on Oct. 6. We expect big voting days this week and weekend, so we could easily add another 1,500-2,000 in-person voters by the end of the day Nov. 2.
“Fulton County voters have shown great enthusiasm for this election so far, and the absentee/early voting numbers reflect that enthusiasm,” she added. “We are very energized by the high turnout during the absentee period, and expect a great turnout on Election Day.
According to Henry County’s board of elections director, Mary Detmer, her office had sent out 3,589 absentee ballots of all kinds in the mail by early Monday afternoon, while 3,358 had voted in-person during the early period.
The total (6,947) represents 35% of the county’s 19,709 registered voters.
“The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Saturday at noon, but we strongly encourage voters to get them in as soon as possible,” Detmer explained.
Like Defiance County’s Wichman, Detmer emphasized that “all voting locations (early voting and Election Day) are a neutral zone. Any campaign apparel — i.e. hats, buttons, pins, masks, bumper stickers, flags and the like, as well as political party pamphlets — are permitted only 100 feet from the entrance of a voting location.”
Paulding County elections officials reported Monday afternoon that 2,240 ballots have been mailed out, while 2,340 had voted in-person at their office. This total (4,580) represents almost 36% of Paulding County’s 12,811 registered voters.
According to the county’s board of elections deputy director, Becky Hermiller, her office has received 5,200 absentee ballot requests and processed 34 more for overseas/military voters. Some 4,063 have voted in person as of Monday afternoon.
The total (9,297) is almost 40% of the county’s 23,859 registered voters.
Williams County’s board of elections director, AJ Nowaczyk, noted Monday that his office had mailed out 4,553 absentee ballots, while the in-person total was 4,067. This total (8,620) is nearly 34% of the county’s 25,513 registered voters.
“I am extremely happy with the job that our vote center workers are doing,” Nowaczyk commented. “We have had mostly no lines, and things are flowing very smoothly. I expect things to get busier this final week, but have all the confidence that things will continue to run as smoothly.”