COLUMBUS (WCMH) — With just a few days until Election Day, some central Ohio voters are already casting their ballots. The Franklin County Board of Elections was busier than normal on Saturday with early voting.

“If we don’t vote, then our voices aren’t heard,” Andy Engbert said.

Carmen Allen added, “The biggest right you have is to get your butt up and get down here to vote.”

In 2020, lines wrapped around the Board of Elections for early voting. Saturday’s crowds paled in comparison, though some voters said the off-year election was equally important.

“Local races are important because those are the ones that are closest to the heart of the community,” Allen said.

“I don’t know why people aren’t interested in off-season elections, but to me, this is important,” Engbert said. “I’m out here to support my candidate and make sure honesty and integrity is upheld.”

Early voting was an attractive option to some because of the convenience of its weekend hours.

“With work schedules, it just makes it easier to come here on the Saturday, get in and get it done,” said Brian O’Hara.

Aaron Sellers, the public information officer for the Franklin County Board of Elections, said, “With all the absentee voting we have and the options and then Election Day itself, there’s really no reason to not vote.”

Sellers explained off-year elections typically see low turnout. In 2017, the most recent comparable election year, 23 percent of the county’s registered voters cast ballots.

This year, voters have to decide candidates for many local school boards and county judgeships, and in Columbus, members of city council and the controversial Issue 7.

There is also the race for the 15th Congressional District, which includes portions of Columbus and Franklin County, pitting Democrat Allison Russo against Republican Mike Carey to replace former Rep. Steve Stivers.

One week before Election Day, the county had received more than 20,000 absentee ballot requests and close to 6,600 people had voted. Sellers anticipated more voters throughout the final early voting weekend.

“Without it being a lot of people out here for early voting, it is a concern to me,” Allen said. “A lot of people wait and vote in a major election, but every election is an opportunity for you to cast your vote and for your voice to be heard.”

The Franklin County Early Vote Center is open Sunday, Oct. 31 from 1-5 p.m. and Monday, Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 1 or dropped off at the Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 2.

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. – 7:30 p.m on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 2.

Franklin County voters can find their Election Day polling location by clicking here.