By Emma Smith
Morgan Wykes is a freshman Exercise Science major at the University of Findlay and a Hancock County resident. She is also a poll worker at the Hancock County Board of Elections and says the number of early voters has been surprising.
“We were not expecting the large amount of people we had come out this year,” Wykes said. “I expect that on Election Day the numbers will be lower at the polls just because of the large turnout we had for early voting.”
Early voting across the country has reached astronomical numbers. According to npr.com, 93 million votes had been casted by Nov. 1. This is significantly more voters that voted before the election during the 2016 election. National Public Radio says, “That’s almost twice as many pre-election votes as were cast in the 2016 election, according to the U.S. Elections Project, a turnout-tracking database run by University of Florida professor Michael McDonald.”
As of Oct. 27, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose reported 2.2 million Ohioans had cast their ballot for the 2020 general election. “After all the votes were counted in 2016, 1.9 million Ohioans voted early in-person or by mail,” according to the SOS website. Hancock county Board of Elections tells the Pulse by email that 13,287 have voted early in person so far.
Voters have many different options to exercise their democratic duty. Ohioans can vote early by mail, absentee ballot, and in-person voting. These options have been fine-tuned to help voters cast their ballot safety during the pandemic.
Wykes says the Hancock Board of Elections is taking special steps to ensure that in person voting is as safe as possible.
“We require face masks, the six feet social distance, and we have plexiglass separating us from the voters,” Wykes said. Voters are spaced six feet apart as they wait in line and given a disposable stylus to use on the voting machines.
LaRose’s office says 743,130 Ohioans had voted early in-person as of Oct. 27 compared to 288,865 early in-person voters at the same time in 2016.
The timing of mail-in ballots counted in the election has become a debate across the country. LaRose says all absentee ballots received by the county board of elections by the close of polls on Nov. 3 will be included in the unofficial vote totals released on election night.
“Outstanding ballots that are postmarked by Nov. 2 and received by the county board of elections within 10 days after the election will be included in the final official results that are released in late November,” according to the Ohio Secretary of State website. “The Ohio Secretary of State must certify the election by Nov. 28.”