Fulton County residents can begin early in-person and absentee voting for the presidential election on Oct. 12, and Board of Elections Director Melanie Gilders estimates an early turnout equal to four years ago.
In-person voting hours at 135 Courthouse Plaza in Wauseon will be as follows: Oct. 12-14, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 17-21, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Oct. 24-28, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.; Oct. 29, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Oct. 30, 1-5 p.m.; Oct. 31-Nov. 4, 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Nov. 5, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.; Nov. 6, 1-5 p.m.; Nov. 7, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.
Early in-person voters will complete a two-step application process including ID verification and voting either by touch screen or paper ballot. Touch screen voting machines will be on location at the BOE offices, and privacy will be assured, Gilders said.
She said Ohio requires no special circumstances to vote early, adding, “We’re not going to ask for a reason.”
No votes are tabulated before 7:30 p.m. on election night, Nov. 8. Early votes placed on touch screen machines are stored in the machine and sealed with a tamper-resistant sticker. Paper ballots are held in a fire-proof safe on site.
Gilders said 2,266 applications for absentee ballots have been received at the BOE, and will start being mailed out Oct. 12. Four years ago, 3,000 people in the county voted by mail.
She won’t estimate how many early voters will turn out but believes they will equal at least the 2,500 who showed up in 2012.
Despite those numbers, “it generally goes really smooth,” Gilders said. “We’ll be putting hundreds of people through here a day. Generally, it’s not a very long wait at all. (And) the atmosphere is generally very good.”