COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose says this weekend’s early voting totals will likely break more records for turnout.
Some photos circulating online show long lines in Ohio and lengthy waits to cast a ballot. But Secretary LaRose says the likely record turnout will show Ohio’s voting process is easy and secure. “What we’re seeing anecdotally is record-breaking participation.”
It was a busy weekend throughout the state as thousands of people took advantage of the first Saturday and Sunday of the early voting period. Secretary LaRose says, “I want to see us have the highest turnout at an election we’ve ever had, of course this is the most complex election we’ve ever had because of the health and safety protocols we’ve had to put in place.”
Some of the protocol is complicating the process. In Montgomery County and others, there are fewer voting machines so voters can spread out more. That’s leading to long lines in some areas.
While the boards insist the lines are moving quickly, social media posts allude to a difficult process.
Secretary LaRose says, “Anybody that says it’s hard to vote in Ohio is simply not telling the truth. It’s easy to vote in Ohio, it’s demonstrably easier to vote in Ohio than almost any other state in the nation, and it’s something that we’re proud of and Ohioans are taking advantage of that.”
Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley was especially critical, telling LaRose on twitter the long lines are a form of voter suppression. In a back-and-forth, Whaley criticized LaRose for his lawsuit to limit the number of ballot drop boxes in each county, and called for more early voting sites.
LaRose says he agrees with the last part, but adds it’s not up to him. “What we ought to do is work together to do things like adding more early voting locations per county. That’s set in law. That’s not a decision that I make. But I’ve long been an advocate for that change. There’s bipartisan support in the legislature.”
Secretary LaRose says early voting remains at about three times what it was at this time in 2016. The Secretary of State’s office is collecting last week’s data from the 88 Boards of Elections and will release the newest voting totals tomorrow.