SCIOTO- The political season is heating up with election day fast approaching and candidates getting the word out through signs, advertisements, and social media. While election day is set for Nov. 3, many across the country and Scioto County have started to submit their votes.
It was a busy day inside the county courthouse on Tuesday, the first day to cast an early vote, beginning at 8 a.m., where Scioto County Board of Elections Director Julia Gearheart said over 400 people came into their office to cast their vote.
Those wishing to vote before election day can do so inside the SCBOE office on the first floor of the courthouse at the following times:
- Oct. 6-9: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Oct. 12-16: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Oct. 19-23: 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Oct. 24: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Oct. 25: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Oct. 26-30: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Oct. 31: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Nov. 1: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Nov. 2: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Expected to be a more popular choice due to the coronavirus, many have decided to skip the polls this year and instead request an absentee ballot. As of Oct. 2, 2,154,235 absentee ballot applications were received by county board of elections in Ohio, nearly twice as many as requests as the 2016 election.
“A record number of Ohioans have requested an absentee ballot and soon they will see that ballot arrive in their mailbox,” said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose in a Tuesday press release. “The clock has started, so don’t wait to return it. Make sure your voice is heard.”
According to the SCBOE absentee report generation, 9,221 records have been filed since July 28 with 137 of those being requests to be withdrawn. Over 8,600 ballot requests have been through mail, nearly 3,600 more than in 2016. There have been more nonpartisans, a near exact amount for Democrats, and less Republicans requesting these ballots compared to the previous presidential election. Voters can ask for these ballots up until Saturday, Oct. 31 at noon.
Nearly 800 less Republicans have made these requests so far in the 2020 election, but still have slightly less than 500 more than the Democrats, who have requested 2,225 absentee ballots as of Oct. 6. While most registered voters in the county have no party affiliation, 9,455 are Republicans and 4,468 are Democrats according to the SCBOE voter report generation.
Alternatively, in-office ballot submissions have dropped substantially this year, where its 322 recorded instances are more than 13 times less than 2016’s final total of 4,335 and 4,305 in the 2012 election.
Completed absentee ballots can be mailed or dropped off at the county drop box inside the courthouse. While LaRose has allowed additional drop boxes, only at a board of elections location, Gearheart believes one drop box will be sufficient.
“We did think about placing another one on the other side of the courthouse,” said Gearheart. “But they still wouldn’t be able to drive up to it, so we decided to just use the one we have.”
For those wishing to vote in-person, SCBOE has hired additional poll workers and taken safety precautions to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus. Although not meeting the state’s goal amount of 243 trained and committed poll workers, the county has exceeded the minimum needed of 162. According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s poll worker tracker, 31 Democrat and 31 Republican poll workers are needed to reach that goal.
“We will always take applications, take their names for extra people because we’d always like to be prepared with poll workers,” said Gearheart, adding that extra jobs for poll workers were created to account for provisional and curbside ballots.
Gearheart said extra sanitation workers have also been hired, using more for larger locations, who will make sure that the voting cards and reusable styluses are cleaned after each use.
Ample amounts of hand sanitizer will be present at the polls on Nov 3., as is the case currently at the SCBOE office for early voting. Masks will be required and provided to those who do not have one.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3501 ext. 1931, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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