NORWOOD, Ohio -- The first day of early voting may be a small sample size, but the Hamilton County has already seen an increase in turnout.
"As of noon we've had 74 voters vote in person," elections director Sherry Poland said. "So that is already more than the number we saw all day in the last similar election in the first day of early voting."
The Board of Elections recently moved from downtown Cincinnati to 4700 Smith Road, just off the Norwood Lateral. Elections officials say the new space is more centrally located and has more space, free parking and easy access to three Metro bus routes.
It's an off-year -- turnout's generally around 30 to 35 percent -- but elections officials hope the move means no more long lines like they had at the old location during last year's presidential election.
"I love it," said Dan Moroski, who voted early for the first time Wednesday.
"I'm familiar with the one Downtown, with people sleeping outside or camping outside," he said. "I think this is really great."
Melvin Spears, from Lincoln Heights, said he decided to vote early because of the new space.
"It's much nicer, easier to get to. It's one floor. When I went Downtown, you had to go upstairs and vote," Spears said. "This is a lot better for everybody to come vote early."
About 25 percent of those who will vote in this election will do so early, Poland said. The other 75 percent vote on Election Day.
Some, including Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley, feared moving the board would restrict access for voters who rely on bus service. So far, Poland said, there have been no complaints.
"Everyone who has come to visit us has been very happy with the new facility. They don't have to battle the traffic Downtown, worry about parking, paying a meter," she said.
Another option: Absentee voting by mail. The board mailed out 6,000 ballots Wednesday to voters who'd already requested one, Poland said. Those can be returned by mail or dropped off at the board's offices.
"If they're in the area, they can stop by 24/7," she said. "Our drop box is accessible, secured. It's monitored. They can do that without even getting out of the car."
The board still needs poll workers for Election Day, both Republicans and Democrats. Poll workers have to attend a class, offered mornings, afternoons, evenings and weekends.
"It's a paid position. Unfortunately, it's not much pay, but they're compensated for their time, and the really great service to the citizens and the community," Poland said.
There's always a shortage, so the board has challenged local high schools to have seniors help out; the winning school will get a pizza party from LaRosa's.
To vote absentee by mail
Visit votehamiltoncounty.org or call 513-632-7000 to request an absentee ballot.
You must have your application for an absentee ballot to the Board of Elections by noon on Nov. 4.
Absentee ballots returned in person or via a method other than U.S. Mail must be received by the boards of elections by close of polls Nov. 7.
Absentee ballots returned by U.S. Mail must be postmarked no later than Nov. 6 and received by boards of elections by Nov. 17.
To vote early
Visit the Board of Elections office at 4700 Smith Road, which will be open for early voting:
- Monday through Friday between Oct. 11 and Oct. 27: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Monday through Friday between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Saturday, Nov. 4: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
- Sunday, Nov. 5: 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
- Monday, Nov. 6: 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.