With only a few hours left to register to vote in November’s election, the League of Women Voters of Ohio is thrilled voter registration has increased.
“Voter registration is up 2 percent since November 2016,” said Jen Miller with the League of Women Voters of Ohio. “We’re excited about that because we think that means more people are going to be engaged in the electoral process this year.”
Looking at numbers from Sept. 29, registrations for almost every age group from 25 to over 65 have increased, while registrations for 18 to 24 year olds were down more than 11 percent. Registrations for 17 year olds who will be 18 by Election Day were also down significantly.
“We want to make sure that young people know that this is their government and to get their registration in by myohiovote.com,” said Miller.
Soon, those who are registered will have the opportunity to cast their vote through a variety of methods from early voting to going to the polls on Nov. 6.
Early voting turnout is where we could start to see if that enthusiasm for registering will translate into enthusiasm to participate further in the process, according to Mike Dawson, an Ohio election statistics expert.
“It doesn’t matter who’s registered. It matters who turns out,” Dawson said.
Dawson says regardless of their political affiliation newly registered voters will have a chance to cast their ballots as soon as this week if they want to.
Over the next week and a half, those turnout numbers may start to show an indication of where the enthusiasm lies when it comes to the outcome of the election.
“What’s happened in the last four, five, six elections is more Republicans have turned out than Democrats. Democrats have stayed home,” Dawson said. “If they get motivated and come out, that will make the election very competitive.”
Dawson points out that traditionally more Democrats than Republicans tend to cast their ballot in person during early voting, while more Republicans tend to show up and vote at the polls on Election Day than Democrats. Mail-in absentee ballots are relatively equal between the two major parties, according to Dawson.
Those trends should be taken into consideration when trying to analyze early voter turnout numbers as they are released.
More than a 170,000 Ohioans have been motivated to take the first step toward going to the polls this November and registered to vote, according to numbers from the Secretary of State’s office.
Check your voter registration status or register to vote up to 11:59 Tuesday, Oct. 9, at MyOhioVote.com.