Butler County breaks voting records with more ballots still to count

Alexys Napier, 18, votes for the first time on election day Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 at Wilson Middle School in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Alexys Napier, 18, votes for the first time on election day Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020 at Wilson Middle School in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

HAMILTON ― Tuesday’s election broke several voting and turnout results, and those numbers are expected to increase when additional votes are added to the official run.

There were 183,155 ballots cast in the Nov. 3 presidential election, and 109,968 of those votes were cast before Election Day. Butler County election officials say as many as 9,586 more votes could be added to Tuesday’s unofficial results, but not all totals when the Butler County elections office certifies the Nov. 3 results later this month.

There are 5,539 provisional ballots that were cast on Election Day, and 4,047 mail-in ballots have not yet been returned.

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Voters who have a problem with their ballot, such as a missing signature or a removed stub, will be asked to correct those issues by Nov. 13.

This is the same process followed with mail-in ballots cast before Election Day, but “they just have less time to correct the issue,” said Butler County Deputy Director Eric Corbin.

“This is the same process we’ve done for years," he said. "We’re not actively trying to get them to cure things because we want a certain candidate to win. It’s what we’re required to do (by Ohio law).”

When the election results are counted and totals are balanced, the elections board, which consists of two Democrats and two Republicans, will certify the county election results.

Those results are posted online and transmitted to the Ohio Secretary of State.

Butler County voters had several races and issues to decide on Election Day, but the turnout was driven by the contentious presidential race. More than 61% of voters chose President Donald Trump, while about 37% votes for former Vice President Joe Biden.

But the down-ballot Republican candidates in contested races easily won election or re-election despite high Democratic Party numbers in early voting.

While early voting was high, Election Day voting was steady but lower than in three of the past four federal elections. There were 73,187 votes cast on Election Day, not including provisional ballots cast. Election Day votes were significantly higher in the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections, and the 2018 gubernatorial election.

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“We’ve been watching early voting grow each year and we’ve been wondering how far out in the future where more than half the votes are early ballots, where we’re going to have to significantly change our processes,” said Corbin. “We found out very quickly that this was this year.”

Though 42.8 percent of all registered voters cast a ballot on or before Monday, that equated to 60 percent of all unofficial votes cast.

Next year’s local election will be a lower voter-turnout election, which is typical, Corbin said election officials are preparing for higher early voting results.

FACTS & FIGURES

The 2020 election saw records broken, both with voter registration, early votes and requests for absentee ballots. Here is a breakdown of some of those numbers:

109,968: The number of early votes cast on or before Monday, which was more than the early votes cast in the 2016 and 2012 general elections combined (107,860)

71.28 percent: The voter turnout based on the unofficial Election Day results, which slightly under the 71.32 percent turnout in 2012. The Nov. 3 voter turnout will climb as provisional and late-arriving ballots are added during the official run of the election.

42.8 percent: The voter turnout during the four weeks of early voting through Monday.

60 percent: The percent of the total votes cast before Election Day.

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