STARK COUNTY, Ohio — It’s the birthplace of professional football and home of a United States President (that would be McKinley). And come this fall, all eyes will be on Stark County residents as they head to the polls.
That's because live in one of Ohio’s pivot counties. Stark voted for President Obama twice and then for President Trump. It appears residents are preparing to vote in historic numbers this November.
The Stark County Board of Elections estimates 125,000 voters will take part in early in-person voting or cast an absentee ballot.
That’s compared to just over 55,000 in 2016.
Already this year, more than 15,000 absentee ballot requests have been filed.
Stark County Democratic chairman and the county’s election chair Sam Ferruccio is seeing high interest.
“The signs are just flying out. We can’t keep them fast enough. We can’t get them made fast enough,” Ferruccio said. "In this particular election, I think we win by 5,000-10,000 votes.”
He says enthusiasm for the Biden campaign is high and predicts the former Vice President will win the county in 2020.
“I’ve never mailed in a ballot, (maybe) one time when I was out of town. But otherwise, I like to go myself,” Stark County Biden supporter Priscilla Perkins said.
Joe Biden will need support from people like Priscilla Perkins to win Stark County in 2020.
In 2016, Donald Trump won there by 17 points, marking the first time a Republican won the county since George W. Bush in 2000.
Juanita Christner says she voted for Trump in 2016 in part because of his personality and style -- big reasons she’s voting for him in 2020.
“I voted for him in 2016, and it really wasn’t a hard decision,” Christner said. “I love his can-do attitude. He has just whatever is thrown at him, he’s figuring out how to solve the problems.”
Christner believes Trump will win the county again and be re-elected but is also preparing herself for a contested final result.
“I am concerned what shadows may be cast whatever the results are,” Christner said.