PAINESVILLE, Ohio — It's the final push to Election Day and poll workers across Northeast Ohio are reflecting on the massive voter turnout during early voting.
In Lake County, Megan Sands and Linda Hlebak have been working at the polls for more than a decade. Sands began her work at the Lake County BOE during the 2000 presidental election and Hlebak began pitching in on Election Day in 2007.
While the two women may not see eye to eye on political views, they both share the same responsibilities at the polls: to ensure every vote cast at their location is protected and to remind voters their ballot matters.
"I just like to make sure people have their say," Sands said.
"The elections don't happen, they can do all the preparations they want here at the board of elections but if the poll workers don't show up on election day nobody votes. So I think it's the one way any regular American can contribute to their country's democracy," Hlebak said.
Sands is considered a temporary employee for the Lake County BOE. She's been working to help out with the presidential election since September. She said she's thrilled to see so many people showing up at the polls to cast their vote early.
"18 up until 80 they've been coming in to vote. Everybody's interested," she said.
Of course, Sands isn't alone. According to data from Board of Elections offices throughout Northeast Ohio, thousands of Ohioans have cast their vote during early voting.
As of Sunday evening in-person ballots processed
- 51,465 in Cuyahoga County
- 30,069 in Lake County
- 34,510 in Lorain County
- 14, 686 in Portage County
- 33,296 in Summit County
Hlebak said while she's thrilled to see the number of early voters heading to the polls, she hopes this kind of enthusiasm carries into future elections—specifically local elections.
"Hopefully by getting them engaged this year they'll stay engaged and be a little more civic minded going forward," she said.
Early voting in Ohio ends at 2 p.m. on Monday, November 2.