by J.D. Davidson
Ohio’s first week of early voting saw long lines at major cities and record numbers of Ohioans heading to the polls.
Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said in a news release Tuesday that triple the number of early voters have gone to the polls this year than at the same point in 2016.
At the same time, absentee ballot requests have increased by more than 1.2 million, including 23,853 military and overseas requests.
“Voter enthusiasm is off the charts and we couldn’t be happier,” LaRose said. “We’ve never seen this many people voting early in-person and it demonstrates what Ohioans know to be true – it’s easy to vote in Ohio.”
LaRose’s news release came a day after he won a stay in federal appeals court that upheld his directive to allow absentee drop boxes only on or near boards of election property across the state.
Cleveland wanted to post drop boxes at public libraries, sued LaRose and won, but that order was put on hold after LaRose won the stay from a higher court.
LaRose also pointed to a review from the Brookings Institute that ranked Ohio as the best among 42 other states in terms of traditional absentee voting.
Not surprisingly, the state’s most populace county with its largest city leads in total in-person votes cast thus far. In Franklin County, 15,693 votes were cast, according to numbers supplied by LaRose’s office.
Also in Franklin County, the board of elections mailed nearly 50,000 replacement ballots to voters who received the wrong mail-in ballots, according to a board of elections spokesperson.
The board also said its vendor, BlueCrest, is taking responsibility for the error.
Hamilton, Butler, Montgomery and Cuyahoga counties rounded out the top 5.
Absentee mail-in voters can track their ballot at voteohio.gov.track.
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An Ohio native, J.D. Davidson is a veteran journalist with more than 30 years of experience in newspapers in Ohio, Georgia, Alabama and Texas. He has served as a reporter, editor, managing editor and publisher. Davidson is a regional editor for The Center Square.