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Butler County voter turnout barely tops 18 percent

Larry Wallace turns in his ballot at the Butler County Board of Elections on Princeton Road in Hamilton on election day Tuesday, April 28 after it had been postponed due to coronavirus pandemic. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Larry Wallace turns in his ballot at the Butler County Board of Elections on Princeton Road in Hamilton on election day Tuesday, April 28 after it had been postponed due to coronavirus pandemic. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Butler County was on pace to mirror voter turnout in a presidential primary than the 41.2 percent in 2016.

But when the March 17 primary election was delayed to Tuesday due to the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, and transitioned into an all-absentee election, turnout suffered.

According to unofficial election results, less than 45,500 Butler County voters cast a ballot in the 10 weeks’ worth of voting, equating to an 18.4 percent voter turnout. As provisional ballots and late-arriving ballots postmarked on or before April 27 are counted, voter turnout could slightly increase.

MORE: Check out the area’s 2020 primary election results

More than 247,000 county residents are registered to vote.

Before Ohio’s public health director, Dr. Amy Acton, declared a public health emergency and ordered polls in Ohio’s 88 counties closed, more than 3,700 absentee ballots were cast.

Ohio lawmakers formally moved Election Day to Tuesday, despite Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose wanting it to be in early June.

Election officials say they are uncertain how COVID-19 will impact the general election in November. Butler County Board of Elections Deputy Director Eric Corbin changes for the 2020 primary election will impact the 2020 general election.

“We’re going to have a lot of voters this fall who’s going to be concerned about the coronavirus,” he said. “And the best thing they can do, if they don’t want to be exposed to the public, is to vote from home and vote by mail. That’s going to be the fastest, the easiest and a secure way to cast their ballot.”