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With two weeks until the Aug. 2 primary, voter turnout is, as expected, low

A voter fills out a ballot at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati.
John Minchillo
A voter fills out a ballot at the Hamilton County Board of Elections in Cincinnati.

Early voting for Ohio's Aug. 2 primary — an usual second primary race for the state — began July 6, and, as expected, turnout so far has been low.

As of Friday, July 15, only 649 people voted in-person, according to Hamilton County Board of Elections data. So far, 1,568 absentee ballots out of 4,933 requested have been returned.

These figures are down in comparison to the May primary, says Sherri Poland, director of the Hamilton County BOE. She points to these figures:

  • August early in-person voting as of Friday, July 15:  649 voters
  • May early in-person voting (same timeframe): 1,016
  • August vote by mail requests as of Friday, July 15:  4,284
  • May vote by mail requests (same timeframe): 8,235

Elsewhere, the numbers are just as low — if not lower. Just 315 people have voted in person since Friday in Cuyahoga County, while in Summit County, 1,741 ballots have been cast, WKSU reports.

The results are not unexpected.

“It’s always a challenge to get high turnout in a primary election,” Cuyahoga County board spokesman Mike West told WKSU. “And it’s more of a challenge when the election is held in the summer when a lot of people are distracted by vacations and getting ready to go back to school.”

The races for Ohio House and Senate seats were pushed back from the normal May primary because of disagreements over new district maps.

After the Ohio Supreme Court rejected four sets of legislative district maps as unconstitutional, a federal court ordered the state to implement the third set of invalidated maps for a special August primary and for the November general election.

Click here to see what's on the ballot where you live and check if you are registered to vote in this election.

Updated: July 19, 2022 at 9:16 AM EDT
This story has been updated to include additional data from the Hamilton County Board of Elections.
Jennifer Merritt brings 20 years of "tra-digital" journalism experience to WVXU.