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'It's busy': Election officials seeing hundreds of voters per day ahead of August special election

Ohio Voting generic
Posted at 6:48 PM, Aug 03, 2023

LEBANON, Ohio — With the Aug. 8 special election fast approaching, local boards of election said they've been busy.

The only thing on the ballot is Issue 1, which makes it more difficult to change the Ohio Constitution. Many of the voters at the polls Thursday said they vote in every election no matter how big.

"Somebody died for me to vote, so I feel like it's my responsibility," Jenny Gauche said.

But those same voters also said they feel passionately about this particular election.

"I personally think the status quo, how it was, it was really important to keep it that way," Faisal Mehmood said.

Another voter has the opposite view.

"I feel like in order to change something that is the foundation of our government, we should have more of a requirement to be able to do that," Yvonne Kaszubowsai said.

While voters said they were at the polls last August, having a statewide special election in August is rare.

Issue 1 brings more to the polls for August election than anticipated

Warren County

"For the whole election we're seeing an increased number of in-person voting," said Brian Sleeth, director of the Warren County Board of Elections.

The numbers are all relative, though. Sleeth said there isn't really an election to directly compare this one to.

In Warren County, Board of Elections data shows they've almost matched the number of votes cast during last year's August election. Nearly 16,000 people have voted in this election as of Thursday, Aug. 3 according to that data, while roughly 15,600 people voted in last year's August election total — both early and on Election Day.

When you compare these numbers to the Nov. 8 general election, though, there's a decrease. Board of Elections data shows more than 41,000 people voted early in November.

Clermont County

"It's been so busy. We've been running around 600 people a day here in the early voting room," said Stephanie Haight, director of the Clermont County Board of Elections. "Compared to last year, the numbers have jumped. We were maybe doing 100 a day."

Clermont County Board of Elections data shows more than 10,500 people have voted so far in this special election. That's up from about 1,700 people last August. In Clermont County, many of the races in last August's election were uncontested.

"I think it's a little more surprising. I mean we had planned, we have our part-time staff that come in and assist us for the early voting and I think they're kind of amazed as well," Haight said.

Both Board of Elections directors said the early voting turnout doesn't necessarily mean there will be higher or lower turnout on Election Day.

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