COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Tuesday is Election Day in Ohio’s single-issue special election and when the election was first set for Aug. 8, one big question was how this would impact turnout, but so far, election officials are seeing long lines and higher-than-expected turnout.
“I don’t think it’s surprising,” Democratic strategist Dale Butland said. “I’ve thought for some time that all signs point to a win for the ‘no’ side.”
“Those kinds of numbers can be overturned by bigger than normal turnout tomorrow, on Election Day,” Republican strategist Bob Clegg said.
It is an election that experts said has motivated Ohioans across the state, prompting the high turnout.
“Most importantly, we are focused on making sure that every Ohioan knows that the August election is so important to our democracy here in Ohio,” Chair of the Ohio Democratic Party Liz Walters said.
“We are seeing a lot of grassroots energy among our bases,” Chair of the Ohio Republican Party Alex Triantafilou said. “They recognize the moment here.”
Nearly 700,000 Ohioans cast their vote early in person or via absentee ballot. Compared to last August, that is nearly seven times higher, and more than three times higher compared to the May 2022 primary.
In some counties, like Franklin County, Democrats have turned out in numbers five times more than Republicans for the early voting period.
“We saw turnout numbers are high in certain counties, but there are a lot of places Republicans are turning out in big ways,” Triantafilou said.
“Historically Democrats, or the more liberals, vote more early but as we saw in the last few elections, once we start counting in-person election ballots, the Republican voters typically dominate,” Republican strategist Ryan Stubenrauch said. “So once the first returns are going to show Issue 1 losing, it come down to how many turn out on Election Day.”
And with everything coming to a head, the state’s party leaders are reminding their bases why voting in this election is important.
“The Ohio constitution is the one place that the out-of-state leaders can’t take away our voice,” Walters said. “Even when we amend the ORC [Ohio Revised Code], the legislature can then go undo that work.”
“It’s part of our constitution that needs fixing and has needed fixing for a long time,” Triantafilou said. “Citizens can still do statutory changes, legal changes, with 50% of the vote.”
Polls will be open Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters who haven’t mailed their absentee ballots Monday must drop them off in person to their county’s board of elections, which can be found by clicking here.