Published Mon, Nov 5, 2012 5:40 pm Dateline
Updated Tue, Nov 6, 2012 1:25 pm
Despite controversy and lawsuits that have surrounded the state's early voting practices, Ohio voters were allowed to vote over the weekend and on Monday.
There were 526 people who voted at the Athens County Board of Elections on Monday, and there have at least 400 more absentee ballot requests in Athens this year than in 2008.
"At the beginning it was a little slow, as far as in person here in the office, but that has picked up in the last couple of days," said Debbie Quivey, Athens County Board of Elections director.
Voters in Southeast Ohio had several different reasons for making an early trip to the polls this year.
"Actually, I decided to vote early [Monday] because I'm actually going to be leaving Tuesday to work on the campaign," said Anthony Cangemi, an Athens County resident.
"I wouldn't wait for the last minute to vote anyway. Normally when you wait for the last minute to do anything you normally don't do it," said Anthony Tyler, a Meigs County resident.
Quivey says one notable difference between this year and the 2008 election is that more absentee ballots are being returned by mail than filled out in person.
They've seen the same trend in neighboring Meigs County.
"Oh, it's just been really crazy. Sometimes we've even seen a line here and that's highly unusual for us," said Becky Johnston, Megis County Board of Elections director.
Athens, which is primarily a Democratic county, has seen a recent upswing in early voting. In Meigs, which is historically a Republican county, early voting has been strong for a while now. Still, the latest numbers give us little indication of how this region or state will go in the presidential election.
"I have no idea. I wouldn't even venture a guess. It's anybody's race," said Johnston.
The latest report from Ohio Secretary of State John Husted's office shows that more than 1.6 million people have voted early in Ohio.
Even with the boom in early voting, both the Athens and Meigs boards of elections expect a busy election day tomorrow.
"With absentee numbers so high, you know, that takes a lot of voters out of the election day equation, but I think we'll still have a high percentage," said Quivey.
Polls open Tuesday at 6:30 in the morning.