The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

October 16, 2012

Thousands vote early in county

By MARK TODD - mtodd@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

JEFFERSON — JEFFERSON — At this rate, the only people present at Ashtabula County’s polling places on Nov. 6 will be the precinct workers.

Thousands of registered voters have either cast a ballot in the fall general election or have requested one well in advance of Election Day.

“It’s been steady,” said Carol Lovas, election board director. “Very steady.”

Nearly 8,000 people have applied for an absentee ballot, and more than 6,700 of the ballots have already been dispatched, Lovas said. To date, some 2,340 people have either returned their ballots or voted in person at the election board office, Lovas said. Forty-five people came to the office on Monday to fill out a ballot, she said.

Early voting has been a big hit across Ohio, according to news reports. One big reason is the abundance of absentee voter applications that have peppered voters over the past few months. In addition to applications sent from the Ohio Secretary of State office, some candidates and political parties have also mailed forms to would-be voters.

Staff have been dealing well with the pre-Election Day activity, Lovas said. The heavy interest in early voting indicates a strong turnout could be ahead on Nov. 6, she said.

Ashtabula County had 63,074 registered voters on the books for the March primary, according to election board records. Here’s how the registered voters declared their status in the spring: non-partisan (47,449), Democrats (8,658), Republicans (6,931), Libertarians (26) and Green (10).

People can vote in person at the election board office in Jefferson between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays this week. The hours expand to 8 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 22-26 and Oct. 29-Nov. 1, then drop back to 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Nov. 2.

Absentee ballots must be delivered to the election board office by 7:30 p.m. Nov. 6, when polls close.