If you’re registered voter in Ohio you likely received in the mail over the last week an application from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted that you can fill out to request an absentee ballot for the November 8 election.
"Cuyahoga County has always been a vote by mail county and we lead the state in vote by mail and so having the secretary of state send out the application this year is a big help for us," said Pat McDonald director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
So far the county has received around 30,000 requests back for ballots which will go out to voters on October 12, the first day of early voting. That’s double the number of requests the board says vs. the same period four years ago.
McDonald said it’s far too soon to tell if that’s a trend that will lead to more early votes cast this year.
“Voting by mail also allows additional time to study the ballot and eliminates the risk of missing the election for any reason,” McDonald said.
Voters also have the option this year of signing up to track their ballots electronically. "It gives him confidence that we are actually receiving their ballots and we are counting their ballots and so they have a thorough understanding that they can sleep at night that their ballot is being counted," McDonald said.
McDonald believes turnout will be on par in the county with 2012’s 70 percent of the vote. In that year’s election 41 percent of people or 312,385 voted early.
Early voting changes the way campaigns are run not only in terms of campaigning and advertising but also when it comes to ground game as the various candidates are able to target the vote of those who request absentee ballots.
"It really puts a premium on organization,” said Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine.
“This is something that as Democrats we feel really good about we got more than three dozen offices open in Ohio for the Clinton-Kaine ticket and they're doing that work every day to contact the voter so that once early voting starts we can really work to make sure that we maximize our performance," he said.