LIMA — With the November general election less than two weeks away, more voters are taking advantage of early and absentee voting ahead of Election Day.
As of Oct. 20, 257,728 Ohio voters have requested absentee ballots by mail, according to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, with 69,223 of those absentee ballots cast. Additionally, 26,275 voters statewide have cast absentee ballots in person at County Board of Elections offices.
In Allen County, a total of 2,690 absentee ballots have been requested as of Thursday, with 1,824 ballots received. Of those received, 897 ballots have been cast at the Allen County Board of Elections. In Auglaize County, 879 total ballots have been requested as of Oct. 20, with 184 cast, 117 of which were cast in person. A total of 872 ballots have been requested as of Oct. 20 in Putnam County, with 463 cast, 140 of which were cast in person.
“We’re on pace to match (2015’s absentee vote count) or more,” Board of Elections Deputy Director Mark Vernik said. That was the previous “off-year” election, which featured several municipal and township races, along with such state issues as the legalization of marijuana. During that election, just over 43 percent of Allen County voters participated, including 2,771 absentee and 427 provisional ballots.
Many of this year’s races are contested , and with such issues as Issue 2 on the ballot, that may be bringing more people out to vote early this year, according to Allen County Board of Elections Director Kathy Meyer.
“They want to get their vote in for Issue 2, which is a big one,” she said. “We think the (Lima) mayoral race is pulling them in, along with the countywide (Regional Transit Authority) issue.”
Absentee ballots can still be requested by mail, with applications required to be submitted to the Board of Elections by noon Nov. 4. However, those voting by mail are encouraged to submit ballot applications as soon as possible to ensure the ballots will be returned in time to be counted. Voters can also cast ballots in person at their county Boards of Election from 8 a.m to 5 p.m. today. Starting Monday, those hours will be extended from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., along with 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 4, 1 to 5 p.m. Nov. 5 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 6.