First day of early voting runs smoothly in Valley; Ohio sets record for number of absentee ballot requests

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All three boards of elections reported no hassles or interference for any voters in line

Editor’s note: This corrects an earlier version of this story to say absentee ballots are still being accepted through Oct. 31. We regret the error.

(WKBN) – Early voting started this week in Ohio, and the turnout was high.

Voters were ready to cast their ballots before the polls even opened Tuesday at 8 a.m.

About 900 votes were cast in Mahoning County, about 1,000 in Trumbull County and over 300 votes were cast in Columbiana County.

All three boards of elections reported no hassles or interference for any voters in line.

Joyce Kale-Pesta, director of the Mahoning County Board of Elections, said Tuesday was unlike any other day of early voting she has seen.

“We have never had a day like this for early voting, it’s one for the history books. I’ve been here for 32 years and I’ve never seen one like this before, this more closer to the end of the election,” she said.

State Senator Sean O’Brien says seeing this kind of turnout on the first day of early voting is exciting.

“I think they want their voices heard, they want to feel safe when they’re voting. So when days are like this and they can be outside if they have to be, I think they feel much more assured,” he said.

Both Mahoning and Trumbull counties are expecting a 75-80% turnout rate this year.

Voters in Ohio have until October 31st to request an absentee ballot. So far, Ohio already set a record for the number of absentee ballot requests. Statewide, there are more than 2.1 million applications.

Mahoning County had 45,700 requests, Trumbull County had 42,600 and Columbiana County will mail out nearly 15,000 absentee ballots.

If someone changes their mind and wants to vote in person, there’s a rule that voters need to be aware of to make sure their votes are counted.

“They can come in here and early vote in person. We void their absentee application and their ballot, and we let them vote a regular ballot, but only at early voting,” Kale-Pesta said.

If someone who signed up to vote absentee shows up on Nov. 3, they will be given a provisional ballot.

All absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2 or dropped off by Election Day.

Kale-Pesta says if voters have concerns about the mail to either vote early in person or drop off their absentee ballot at a county board of elections building.

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