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Early Voting Kicks Off In Ohio

Esther Honig
Voters at the Franklin County Board of Elections take advantage of the first day of early voting.

As early voting began on Wednesday, the Ohio Democratic Party rolled up to The Ohio State University student union. In a big blue bus, complete with decals of Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine, party chair David Peppers was ready to ferry a handful of college students to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Peppers says this is their second stop today -- they were in Cleveland this morning. Throughout Ohio's early voting period, the Ohio Democratic Party will be stopping at college campuses across the state to bring young people to the polls.

"We'll be in Dayton later," Peppers says. "And then another bus is going to Bowling Green."

Freshman Alexis Oberdorf climbs aboard. This is her first presidential election. She says she started out as a supporter of Bernie Sanders but was eventually swayed by Clinton. 

Credit Esther Honig / WOSU
OSU Students Daniel Scheinman and Gabrel Jackson took the DNC's tour bus "Forward Together" to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

"When she laid out her plan for refinancing college debt, that resonated with me a lot," Oberdorf says. "I think that it's more of an obtainable goal than tuition-free college."

Oberdorf says this presidential campaign has been divisive, not just across the country, but among students at OSU as well.

Throughout the fall semester, she says, people have written messages in chalk across the campus denouncing Hillary Clinton. One read, "sheep vote for Hillary."

Oberdorf and her fellow students aboard the bus agree that there's no excuse for students to miss their chance to cast a ballot.

"Democracy supersedes any sort of school work you might have, and this election the stakes are so high," Oberdorf says.

Seasoned voters like Trudy Silver also took advantage of the first day of early voting. Silver says that in her 50 years of voting she's never been so excited to cast her ballot.

This election has been so contentious, Silver says she's ready for it to be over.

"You just want to go and... punch that lever for the person you want," Silver says. "And I would like it if there was a little less animosity."

Another voter at the polls, Suerathia Turner, also says that the divisiveness of this election is why she's thankful for early voting.

"Because I don't have to wait," Turner says. "I want to get it over with.... I've seen enough."

For the next two weeks, voters can cast their ballot in person Monday through Friday. After that period, voting is open seven days a week until Election Day on November 8.