Election 2020: The latest on early voting in Butler County after first weekend voting

Voters line up at the Butler County Board of Elections on the first day of early voting Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF
Voters line up at the Butler County Board of Elections on the first day of early voting Tuesday, October 6, 2020 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

Credit: Nick Graham

Credit: Nick Graham

HAMILTON — Butler County is continuing record-pacing early turnout after the first weekend that voters could cast ballots at the board of elections.

Nearly a third of all registered Butler County voters have already cast a ballot in this year’s presidential election, which includes more than 39,000 mailed ballots as of Monday morning and more than 38,000 in-person votes as of Monday afternoon, according to the Butler County Board of Elections.

The novel coronavirus is pushing people to vote early by mail or at the county board of elections office in record-pacing numbers. The 77,195 early voters through part of Monday already exceeds the nearly 58,900 early voters in 2016 and represents 30.5 percent of all Butler County registered voters. Only 23.7 percent of registered voters cast an early ballot in 2016, and 29.6 percent in 2012, according to elections data.

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Voting this past weekend was lower than anticipated given the record-setting opening week of early voting earlier this month. But the first weekend of in-person early voting still outpaced the first weekend in 2016, said Butler County elections office Deputy Director Eric Corbin. More than 3,700 voters cast a ballot at the elections office this weekend, compared to just more than 1,900 in 2016.

Historically, the second, and last, weekend of in-person early voting is the busiest, Corbin said. Four years ago, more than 4,600 people voted on the final weekend.

“Although the line was longer than we have ever seen before, it was moving,” Corbin said. "At some points on the weekend, there were no lines. We still expect there to be a significant turn out on the last weekend and we are going to make sure we are fully staffed so we can keep the line moving.

There is also an anticipated influx of mail for the final weekend.

So far, both the number of ballots requested (56,374) and returned ballots (39,028) have exceeded vote-by-mail numbers in 2016, and are on pace to exceed the high early voter turnout in 2012. As of Monday morning, 69 percent of the Nov. 3 ballots have been returned. Nearly 94 percent of the mailed ballots were returned in 2016, and 97 percent in 2012.

Voters have until noon on Oct. 31 to request a mail-in ballot but state and local elections officials request those applications come as quickly as possible because last-minute mail-in ballot requests may not be received by voters until either on or after Election Day.

Mail service is anticipated to be slower due to the expected volume of mail-in ballots. Last week, with two full weeks remaining in early voting, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose reported more than 675,000 vote-by-mail ballots have been returned to county boards of elections, which was more than doubled the number in 2016.

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LaRose has pushed for Ohioans to get their applications in the mail by today, despite the deadline being Oct. 31 — three days before Election Day. LaRose says that almost guarantees voters won’t get their ballots in time.

“The bottom line is, don’t wait,” LaRose said.

Any ballot postmarked on Nov. 2, the day before the election, and received within 10 days after the election, will be counted. Also, any hand-delivered ballot to the board of elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day will be counted.

In-person early voting will take place every day until Nov. 2. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3.

Reporting from staff writer Laura Bischoff was included in this story.

HOW TO VOTE

Hours

Today to Friday, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sunday, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Monday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Locations

Butler County

1802 Princeton Road, Suite 600, Hamilton, OH 45011 Office Hours: 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (513) 887-3700 Fax: (513) 887-5535 E-mail: butler@OhioSoS.gov Website: elections.bcohio.gov

Warren County

520 Justice Dr., Lebanon, OH 45036 Office Hours: 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday Telephone: (513) 695-1358 Fax: (513) 695-2953 E-mail: wcboe@warrencountyohio.gov Website: vote.warrencountyohio.gov

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