ELECTION UPDATE: Over 96,000 Miami, Montgomery County residents applied for absentee ballots

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MIAMI/MONTGOMERY COUNTIES, Ohio (WDTN) – Tuesday is National Voter Registration Day, and it marks 13 days until the deadline to register to vote in November.

The voting machines in Miami County are undergoing inspections as early voting for the general election starts in just two weeks. It will be the first time 26-year-old Miami County resident Chelsea Hornbeck votes after she registered on Tuesday’s voting holiday.

“My uncle has actually been talking to me about doing it for about a year now, and I think it’s good to get my kids to also see if their parents are doing it, they can do it,” said Hornbeck.

In Montgomery County, the Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly said they haven’t seen many in-person registrations but have seen a big uptick online.

“Over 500 came through last night,” said Kelly.

Kelly anticipates the normal voter turnout of about 70 percent for this year’s Presidential election, but she said there’s been a huge increase in absentee ballot requests.

“As of this morning we have processed 83,000 applications for absentee ballots,” said Kelly.

Laura Bruns, the BOE Director in Miami County said they’ve received over 13,000 applications the past several months.

“The deadline to request an absentee ballot by law is the Saturday before Election Day by noon,” said Bruns. “We want to make sure people get their requests in if they do want to vote by mail as early as possible.”

During his rally in Vandalia Monday night, President Trump called the high demand for mail-in-ballots “fraud waiting to happen” but both Kelly and Bruns said the process is nothing new.

“We have had probably for 20 years the option of mail in voting without an excuse to do so, so it’s something we’ve been doing for a long time and your vote will count if you vote by mail,” said Bruns.

Kelly added the postal service is working closely with the BOE in Ohio and the Secretary of State’s office and even have a special ballot retrieval system.

“Everything has to be cleared out at the post office each night, has to be an-all clear for all election mail and the Secretary of State has a big red banner on the election envelope that’s going to be returned, so there’s a lot of safeguards in place,” said Kelly.

The deadline to register to vote this election is Oct. 5, and early voting begins Oct. 6.

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