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Election Day Voting Kicks Off Around Ohio With Early Morning Lines

People stand in line at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as they wait to vote, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio.
Aaron Doster
/
Associated Press
People stand in line at the Hamilton County Board of Elections as they wait to vote, Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020, in Norwood, Ohio.

Many voters lined up at their local polling location around the state to kick-off the last day of voting in the 2020 election. Even with an emphasis on early voting, there were still long lines spotted in Ohio.

Voters in Canal Winchester were treated to a glowing sunrise on the horizon as they waited to cast their ballots. Polls opened across the state at 6:30 a.m.

The line stretched to the other side of the parking lot, which is unusually long according to Tom Tannehill, who has been voting at this precinct for more than 20 years. 

"I think that every election becomes the most important election and I think that people just want to have their voice heard," says Tannehill. 

Voters here say they considered casting absentee ballots but felt more comfortable with their usual routine of voting in person on Election Day. 

Patrick Patterson stood in line as the precinct opened. While he did not say who he voted for, Patterson says he thinks the country needs to "go another direction." 

"I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to vote and still make it to work on time. So I got out here early, bundled warm, and I was ready," Patterson says.

The morning was not without its troubles, however. In Franklin County, polling places had to switch from electronic voter logs to paper books, causing some delays when polls opened. However, the issue did not impact voting machines.

By 10:30 a.m., no voter had to stand outside of the Driving Park Recreation Center on Columbus' Southeast Side. Some lines formed inside as voters checked-in using back-up paper poll books. 

"It wasn't long at all," said voter Stephanie Lively. "I was in there for about 10 minutes."

In Gahanna, voters at Center Point Church saw few delays by the time noon rolled around. Kim Young was surprised at how easy it was to vote.

“Very smooth, it went really well about 10 or 15 minutes," Young said. "I expected it to be worse, so I was really pleased.”

With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent precautions, voters were encouraged to cast their vote early, either by mail or at their county early voting center. That resulted in a record number of voters, 3.4 million, who cast their ballot before November 3. That's equivalent to about 60% of the total turnout in 2016.

According to the Secretary of State's Office, there are still over 240,000 absentee ballots outstanding. While it's too late to send them through the mail, voters can drop their ballots at a secure drop box, located at the board of elections, until the close of polls at 7:30 p.m.