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Early Voting Is Underway For More Than 8 Million Registered Voters, But Turnout Is Key

Voters cast ballots at the early voting center in Franklin County on the first day of early voting.
Voters cast ballots at the early voting center in Franklin County on the first day of early voting.

Early voting is now underway in Ohio, which has seen strong Republican wins in the last two midterm election cycles. But many are wondering about the impact of an increase in registered voters in a midterm year that looks good nationwide for Democrats.

Cathy Adamescue of Columbus is planning a trip next month, so she decided to get voting out of the way early. “I probably could have voted on voting day, but I wasn’t really sure, and I did not want to miss an opportunity to vote.”

Right now there are more than 8 million registered Ohio voters, the fourth largest total in state history. But elections expert Mike Dawson says turnout – early and through election day – is what’s important. “If you increase your voter turnout percent by 10 percent, that would be an additional 800,000 voters," Dawson said.

Democrats did well statewide in 2006, with 53 percent turnout. Then Republicans swept state offices in 2010, when there were more registered voters but turnout was just under 50 percent. Turnout dropped by 10 points in 2014.

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