Wednesday marks the first of 27 days of early voting before Ohio's March 15th primary election.
Ohio's 88 county boards of elections can begin mailing out absentee ballots to those who have applied for them; and voters can cast ballots at specific times at board of election offices.
Because this is a presidential primary election for both Republicans and Democrats, election officials like Sherry Poland, Hamilton County's elections director, are preparing for large numbers of early voters.
“We’re sort of basing the turnout on the model of the March 2008 primary,’’ Poland said. “At that time, we received approximately 50,000 absentee requests with about 43,000 of those actually returned and counted.”
In 2008, a hotly-contested Democratic presidential primary in Ohio between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton was the driving force behind the large number of early voters.
Election officials expect the numbers of early voters will increase substantially in the November general election.
Applications for absentee ballot can be downloaded from the web sites of county boards of elections. The hours for in-person early voting are also at county board web sites. The Ohio Secretary of State’s web site has links to all 88 county boards of elections and general information on how to cast an early ballot.
As for in-person early voting, the hours are uniform in all 88 counties. Poland said the early in-person voting begins at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Ohio’s in-person early voting will end at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 14.