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Early voting numbers higher in Cuyahoga County than four years ago

Posted at 5:43 PM, Oct 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-16 18:17:01-04

One week into early voting in Ohio the numbers out of Cuyahoga County show they are already at nearly 93 percent of the absentee ballot requests they saw in 2014 with still three weeks to go before election day.

Early voting started off in Ohio last Wednesday, October 10. Rallies were held outside the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections by Democrats looking to drum up interest. Democrats, though, at this stage of the process, are at 74 percent of their 2014 absentee ballot request level, while Republicans in the county have already equaled their total.

For Republicans, it's a question of enthusiasm and convenience, said News 5 Political Analyst Dr. Tom Sutton of Baldwin Wallace University.

"Certainly the older suburban voters are your regular voters and certainly on something like a midterm, particularly the first midterm after their president has been elected, is going to be important," Sutton said. "And so seeing them as more reliable users of the early vote and the heightened interest in this midterm this is what explains the high turnout so far in the early voting."

"Democrats tend to take a little longer to use the early vote or just plan to vote on election day but the whole question is will they turn out on or before election day and actually vote."

The wild card lies in the largest voting block in the county, the independents, which account for nearly 60 percent of county voters. Their numbers are already 35 percent over where they were at the end of the voting process in 2014.

"Independents really are the ones that swung slightly for Trump in 2016; in this election, it really depends on what's happening with the statewide being so close between Cordray and DeWine. I think that explains part of the uptick," Sutton said. "Another part of it is the particular congressional race that they're in and in Cuyahoga County we have three, four different congressional districts represented."

One thing for certain is another wave of absentee ballot requests is expected as both the state and individual candidates continue to mail out absentee applications to voters.