COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Voters in swing state Ohio can start casting ballots in next month’s presidential election.
Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Wednesday at 8 a.m. Residents can vote absentee by mail or in person without having to give a reason.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says county boards of elections statewide have received nearly 1.1 million absentee ballot applications.
And there’s still time to request an absentee ballot. Boards must receive the applications by noon on Nov. 5.
Voters will have the chance to decide races for congressional and state legislative seats, justices of the Ohio Supreme Court and appellate judges, and members of the state Board of Education. Around the state, local candidates and more than 1,800 local issues, including school levies, also are on ballots.
In Montgomery County, people lined up well before 8 a.m. to be the first to cast their ballots. All early voting in the county must take place at 451 West Third Street.
That location will be open from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. There will be extended hours, including some weekend hours closer to election day on November 8th.
Election officials say people wishing to vote early must have their driver’s license number and the last four digits of their social security number to vote.
Montgomery County election officials expect a busy month leading up to November 8th.
“I think it’s been a long election year and I think people are ready to cast their vote and get their vote in,” Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly said. “I think they’re sick of it, so they’re ready to cast their vote and move on.”
People taking advantage of early voting in Montgomery County will notice some changes this year. After years of using paper ballots and a longer application process, election officials went to a shorter application and the use of voting machines this year. They believe voters will be pleased with the upgrades.
“I think the voters are really going to be excited about the process,” Kelly said. “It’s going to be quick.”
“We’re going to get you in and we’re going to get you out of here quickly.”
There are 178 polling locations in Montgomery County, with few changes made to the locations from the previous election. Election officials say you can go to www.mcboe.org to see your polling location, with all changes marked in red with an asterisk.
People voting absentee must get ballots in by 7:30 p.m. on election night. Absentee ballots cannot be returned at polling locations, but must be dropped off at the board of elections by election day. Election officials urge people voting by absentee ballot to return the ballots as soon as possible to give the board of elections plenty of time to process all ballots and make sure all votes are counted.
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