Election update: Nearly 1 in 5 Butler County voters have already cast a ballot

Jim Gau places his ballot in the drop box as his dog, Gunner, sticks his head out of the window at the Butler County Board of Elections Thursday, October 22, 2020 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

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Jim Gau places his ballot in the drop box as his dog, Gunner, sticks his head out of the window at the Butler County Board of Elections Thursday, October 22, 2020 in Hamilton. NICK GRAHAM / STAFF

HAMILTON — After more than two full weeks of voting, nearly a fifth of Butler County voters have cast a Nov. 3 election ballot.

Tuesday marked the halfway point for early voting in the 2020 general election, and about 45,000 voters, or nearly 20 percent of those registered, have participated. It wasn’t until nine days before the 2016 presidential election to received just more than 44,000 ballots during early voting. In the 28 days of early voting that year, there were 59,127 ballots cast.

As President Donald Trump seeks a second four-year term against his Democratic Party challenger Joe Biden, there are several down-ballot tickets that could determine Ohio’s future, candidates for office have said in recent debates and forums. Voters will decide who will represent most all of Butler County in the Ohio Senate, as well as contested elections in the county’s Statehouse races.

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Heading into early voting, Democrats were leading Republicans in absentee ballot requests. That remains the case halfway through early voting with 10,891 Democrats and 10,750 Republicans asking for ballots to be mailed. As of Tuesday, 5,954 Democrats have returned their ballots, while Republicans have returned 4,743 ballots.

Republicans, though, are showing up more in person to vote at the Butler County Board of Elections at 1802 Princeton Road in Hamilton. As of Tuesday, 7,542 ballots have been cast in person by Republicans, with 5,077 from Democrats. Nearly 49 percent of all in-person ballots cast, and just more than 47 percent of all mailed-in ballots received, are from third-party and unaffiliated voters.

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The high number of early voting is trending statewide, said Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

With 14 days until Election Day, 1.1 million Ohioans had already cast 1.1 million votes in the 2020 general election, which is pacing ahead of the 2016 election.

“Inspiring. There’s no other word for it,” LaRose said on Tuesday. “With two weeks until election day, our record-breaking turnout is sending a message — it’s easy to vote in Ohio.”

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The Butler County elections office was one of several Ohio counties that experienced a problem with a Cleveland vendor printing out absentee ballots, which delayed 50,000 ballots being delayed by two days.

LaRose said it’s “really unfortunate and truly unacceptable” the vendor “overpromised and underdelivered" on its ability to print ballots.

Butler County elections officials said they only planned to use the vendor for two printings to help take the anticipated load at the start of the early voting.

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The elections office only used the vendor for the first printing, and discontinued the contract on Oct. 9, said elections Director Diane Noonan. The office is “doing the printing and mailings daily,” she said, adding this election “is extremely busy.”

Deputy Director Eric Cobrin said the issue with the vendor “was unfortunate it went the way it did," but said voters have received their ballots “because they’re coming back like crazy.”


HOW TO VOTE

Hours

Today, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

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

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

Monday to Oct. 30, 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Oct. 31, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Nov. 1, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Nov. 2, 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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