Ohio residents are voting at massive rates, nearly tripling the amount of early in-person voting compared to 2016, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose announced on Tuesday.
Nearly 1.1 million Ohio residents have already cast their ballot for the presidential election, 119% the rate seen in 2016. Nearly triple the amount of people are voting early in-person compared to 2016, the Secretary of State’s office said.
More than 675,000 absentee ballots have already been returned to county boards, compared to a little more than 344,000 in 2016, according to SOS. The department also said that the state has seen an increase of absentee ballot requests by more than 275,000 requests.
“Inspiring. There’s no other word for it,” LaRose said in a statement on Tuesday. “With two weeks until election day, our record-breaking turnout is sending a message – it’s easy to vote in Ohio.”
On Friday, LaRose announced the schedule under which counties must publish election results
Under the directive, election boards are required to report the number of absentee ballots issued but not returned by the close of polls on Election Day, in addition to the total number of provisional ballots issued on Election Day and during early in-person voting.
It also directs counties to begin their official canvass of election results starting on November 14 and complete it by 2:00 p.m. on November 18. Any recounts must be completed by December 8.
LaRose directed counties to begin publishing absentee ballot results no later than 8:00 p.m. on Election Day.
“We will be uploading absentee results at 7:45 and at the top of every hour until 8 locations have returned their supplies,” Deb Sneddon, a spokesperson for Mercer County, told The Ohio Star in an email.
A spokesperson for Franklin County said that its election board plans to have absentee ballots reported by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
“In past years…we weren’t able to start processing until 19 days until the election,” Aaron Sellers told The Ohio Star, adding that they are currently allowed to begin processing — but not tallying — absentee ballots as they come in, as of the closure of voter registration on October 6.
Although more people are voting by absentee this year, Sellers said it will not necessarily make it easier to call results.
“It would appear to me the number that are voting early and [using] mail-in ballots [mean] a significant number of people will have voted before election day,” Sellers said. “…It depends on which voters vote absentee and which voters go to the poll on Election Day.”
Read the directive from LaRose here.
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Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Ohio Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair.
Photo “People Voting” by Wyofile Wyofile. CC BY 2.0.