Early voting off to a slow start

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

Early voting for the Nov. 5 general election began Oct. 1, but voters were slow to turn out and cast their ballots, local boards of elections reported.

In Franklin County, 42 people voted Oct. 1, said Franklin County Board of Elections spokesman Ben Piscitelli. That compares with 126 who came to vote in 2011, the last year that didn’t include a presidential election.

Piscitelli blamed the lack of high-profile elections or issues for the slow rollout, though he said the early voting period generally starts slowly.

“We’re dealing with an off-year election, and things are typically slower,” Piscitelli said. “We’re running a little bit behind, but it’s not unusual to have a slow first day.”

The county has had more than 4,000 requests for ballots by mail this year, Piscitelli said, compared with 12,890 sent in 2011.

Delaware County Board of Elections director Karla Herron said the county saw a smooth but slow kickoff to early voting, with only six people voting in person.

“We had no problems. We opened up in time, and it was very, very sad,” Herron said. “That was after we sent out an email to all of our public entities, all villages, township, schools.”

Fourteen people turned out Oct. 1 in Fairfield County, and several hundred absentee ballots were sent out, said Susan Bloom, Fairfield County Board of Elections director.

Although off-year elections tend to bring lower turnout, Bloom encouraged voters to get out and exercise their rights.

“This year’s election is for local elected officials: township trustees, village council, boards of election,” Bloom said. “These are the people that handle the things that affect you in your day-to-day life.”

Fourteen people also turned out in Union County, said Gary Wallace, acting deputy director for the board of elections. Ballots were mailed to 60 people, and three people picked up absentee ballots in person, he said.

In Licking County, 46 people voted in person for the first day, and 159 ballots were mailed out, said board of elections clerk Sheila Lorch.

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