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Early turnout for Ohio election on abortion and marijuana issues outpaces early vote in August

A line of voters waiting at the Franklin County Board of Elections to cast early ballots on Saturday, November 4, 2023. This was the only weekend for early in-person voting for this election.
Jo Ingles
/
Statehouse News Bureau
A line of voters waiting at the Franklin County Board of Elections to cast early ballots on Saturday, November 4, 2023. This was the only weekend for early in-person voting for this election.

Ohio’s county boards of elections closed their early voting centers yesterday to prepare for Election Day on Tuesday, when voters will decide a constitutional amendment on abortion and reproductive rights and a law on legalizing recreational marijuana. And turnout has outpaced the number of voters who cast early ballots in the August special election.

The total ballots cast by mail, in person and dropped off at boards of elections by Saturday was 813,571. That doesn’t include Sunday’s tally, which hasn’t been posted to the secretary of state's online early vote tracker yet, or the numbers from Cuyahoga County, which has not reported early voting numbers to the secretary of state’s office since Thursday.

In August, 757,653 people cast early ballots in the entire early voting period, when voters rejected a proposal to make it harder to amend Ohio’s constitution. That’s an increase of at least 7.3%.

Ohio voter guide: What to know about the Nov. 7 election

Independent voters are leading the higher turnout. Turnout is up nearly two-thirds of counties with online early vote trackers. And the percentage of voters not affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic Party – so not part of either party’s base – is up an average of 8%.

In many counties, the increase is in the single digits. But in some rural counties, the spike is significant. In Pike County, the percentage of non-affiliated voters casting ballots in November is up 21% over August. In Lawrence County, it's up 19%. In Noble County, it's up 14%.

The state's three largest counties aren't among those with this online early vote tracking system. But Summit County recorded an increase of 9%, Lorain and Montgomery Counties each saw an 8% increase in non-affiliated voters, Delaware County had a 7% increase and Lake County had a 6% increase.

Note: This story will be updated Monday with more early voting numbers. 

Updated: November 7, 2023 at 2:29 AM EST
Contact Karen at 614-578-6375 or at kkasler@statehousenews.org.