JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County’s early voting numbers for the May 8 primary lag slightly behind the last gubernatorial primary election, but officials are confident the gap will narrow before Election Day.

Some 1,538 absentee ballot applications had been received at the county election board office as of Monday, said Duane Feher, director. For the 2014 primary election, almost 2,000 requests were received, he said.

With a handful of days remaining, numbers will grow to comparable levels, Feher said.

“I think it will pick up,” he said.

The county has already dispatched some 1,273 ballots to voters who submitted an application, according to a report sent by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office last week. Some 672 have been filled out, returned and are ready to be counted, per the report.

Voters have also chosen to fill out a ballot in advance of Election Day at the election board office.

Almost 260 people have opted to vote in-person since the process began last month, according to the report.

Twenty-five of them requested only a questions-and-issues ballot, per the report.

“It’s been steady,” Feher said.

In-person voting is available at the election board office, 8 W. Walnut St., Jefferson, weekdays 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

The office will also be open to voters on Saturday (8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) and Sunday (1-5 p.m.) Deadline to vote in-person is 2 p.m. Monday.

The May 8 ballot is generally devoid of contested local races in favor of state and federal seats.

Twelve issues, including school levies in the Geneva and Grand Valley districts and one state measure regarding a congressional redistricting proposal, will come before voters.

None of the other issues are county-wide.

By comparison, 19 issues were on the May 2014 primary ballot, including a state issue and one county-wide entry — but no school levies.

That election drew almost 23.5 percent of the county’s registered voters, according to the election board website.

A few hundred more people will be eligible to participate in next week’s primary.

Registration for the election, which closed in April, sees 61,648 people who are registered to vote, Feher said, almost 360 more than the November 2017 general election.

“There’s been an uptick in registrations,” he said.

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