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End of Ohio's golden week draws out the passionate and practical voters
The presidential race is the big driver for voters, but other interests show up as well
This story is part of a special series.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
Stark County Board of Elections Deputy Director Jeanette Mullane says early voting is running a bit ahead of four years ago.
Courtesy of RICK SENFTEN
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In The Region:

Today is the last day of what’s called the golden week, when voters can register and cast ballots at the same time.  Traffic at county boards of elections has been steady, and that’s expected to continue right up until 9 tonight.

SCHULTZE Stark County's early voters

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As with the other 87 county boards of elections in Ohio, Stark County’s was shepherding voters through new registration, changes of address, early voting and other questions. It also was mailing out the first of some 32,000 absentee ballots.

Jeanette Mullane is the board’s deputy director. She says early in-person voting seem to be running a bit ahead of four years ago. “I think it’s just the atmosphere of the election where they’re being encouraged to vote by various parties, or candidates or phone calls that they’re getting at home.”

Staving off the ads
John Walker of Canton is supporter of President Obama and a man who thinks of voting as the most important American right and responsibility. He adds, though, that he voted early in part in self-defense.
“I like voting early because it’s over with, and I don’t pay attention any more to any ads and anything. I can just concentrate on watching football games and ignoring all the political ads (that) … run heavy in October, and now I don’t have to think about it anymore.”

David Tansek – whose first presidential vote was with his father for Democrat George McGovern in 1972, says he’s moved well away from the Democratic party – or it’s move away from him. He showed up early to vote for one reason.
“I wanna fire the guy that’s in the White House today. After 30 years being a truck driver -- never been fired from a job -- due to the regulations they’re passing in the trucking industry, I’ve been fired from two jobs in his term. Now it’s his turn.”

Other issues
The presidential contest was obviously the big draw for early voters. But a few had other concerns as well. For Linda Barthel, it was the Louisville school levy.
“I think as you have retired people, older folks, with your taxes going up and up and up, your income does not match this increase. It’s time to get up and do something.”

And other voters, like Sandy Rabitz, were thinking a month ahead as they voted early. “If I’m available I can work election day for the candidate of my choice.” That candidate being:  “Barack Obama, of course.”

Ready to wait
Still some voters opted out of voting early, even if they had to go to the board of elections anyway.  Mark Crew had to change his address, but will wait until election day to vote -- with his mother -- and very likely for Mitt Romney. He notes the extra month also gives him time to find out more about candidates and issues further down the ballot.

“Just read, go on line and read people’s agendas. Go on line and read where they’re coming from and what they believe in and hopefully I can believe in what they say.”

Early in-person voting in Ohio began last week, but voters still don’t know just when it will end.  That’s because Secretary of State Jon Husted has decided to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a court order that voters be allowed to vote the weekend before the Nov. 6 election.


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