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Ohio's early voting starts this week
 Secretary of State Jon Husted thinks the state is ready for it
This story is part of a special series.

Jo Ingles
In The Region:

Nearly a million Ohioans have returned absentee ballot request forms, asking for paper ballots from county boards of elections. And for those who’d like to cast an early ballot in person, voting starts Tuesday October 2nd at locations specified by local boards of elections. Ohio Public Radio' Jo Ingles says Ohio' top elections official thinks early voting is looking good so far.

Ohio's early voting starts this week

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Secretary of State Jon Husted says nine hundred twenty two thousand, one hundred and ninety nine Ohioans have returned those absentee ballot request forms his office sent out in the mail recently.  And the absentee early in person voting hours start tomorrow in Ohio’s 88 counties at the locations designated by each county.  Husted says he believes these early voting opportunities will help eliminate long lines on Election Day.

Husted - We’ve seen no evidence that would lead one to believe that there is going to be an abnormally high or low turnout.

Husted says Ohioans who vote by mail should have their ballots back in the mail a week prior to election Day.  And for those who forget or wait until the last minute, he says the ballots can be returned, in person by the voter, on Election Day at the county board of elections.  As for people who order ballots and don’t get them or lose ballots before sending them, Husted says they will have to cast a provisional ballot on Election Day.  Husted says his office has taken steps to clean up the voter rolls too.

Husted - Voting rolls in Ohio are in the best shape they’ve been since the early voting process started.  When I took over this office, we only had data on 25% of the voters.  We now have data on 100% of the voters and most of that information is complete.

Husted says he has cleaned up the voter records by allowing Ohioans themselves to remove themselves from the rolls.  
Husted – We did a good job working with health and human services, working with the BMV, working with county boards of elections.  We sent out 400,000 postcards to voters who we believed have duplicate registrations both in state and out of state.  And as a result of those aggressive efforts, we removed 150,000 deceased voters, hundreds of thousands of duplicate voters.  We have folks who have moved out of state who have removed themselves from the rolls.

Husted says there’s no reason to believe there are illegal immigrants on the voting rolls but he says there’s no way, at this point, to check the citizenship of voters.

Husted – We have no information that would lead us to believe that there are presently any non citizens on the voting rolls and we are working with the department of homeland security on an agreement as to how we would access that information.

One of the biggest question marks this election season is whether Ohio voters will get to cast ballots on the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day.  A federal appeals court is considering a lower court ruling allowing voting on those days.  Some county boards of elections have already said they intend to be open on those days.  But Husted isn’t saying much about that right now.

Husted – Where it stands, it’s a matter of litigation so I don’t have a lot to say except that we are talking with local boards of elections, the legal team to appropriately comply with the court order.  And so a directive will be forthcoming at some point and time to communicate that to the boards of elections, also knowing this is a matter of pending litigation and that could also change things between now and that time.

Ohioans only have a week left to register to vote.  The last day to register is October 9th.

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