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Government & Politics

Early Voting in Ohio Was Up This Year, But Not Because of Reforms

photo of voting stickers
This year's increase in early voting in Ohio wasn't due to mail-in ballots or early in-person voting.

A new report shows changes made to increase early voting opportunities in Ohio have not led to an increase in voter participation.

On Election Day 2004, voters in some parts of Ohio stood in long lines. Some left without voting. Since then, Ohio has allowed early voting by mail or in person. But election statistics analyst Mike Dawson says those changes haven’t increased voter turnout. 

“In 2004, when we only had one day of voting and you had to have an excuse to vote absentee, we had more votes than we did in 2012 and 2016 where we had expansive early voting. In fact, the only time it (turnout) has increased was in 2008, and it was less than 1 percent,” said Dawson.

Dawson says the 30 percent of people who vote early probably would have voted on Election Day anyway.