Election Day is so 2007. Welcome to the start of Election Month in Ohio. “Just sitting back and waiting for people to turn out on Election Day is a fool’s errand,” said Matt Borges, chairman of the Ohio Republican Party. With the growing popularity of casting ballots ahead of time, the fate of statewide elections, county races and local issues will be decided beginning Tuesday at early-voting centers across the Buckeye State — four weeks before polls open on Election Day, Nov. 4. Borges said he expects 11 percent of this year’s turnout to come in the first week of early voting. “I think what it does is it just moves everything up,” said Lauren Hitt, spokeswoman for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ed FitzGerald.
Gov. John Kasich’s campaign has been pointing to the early-voting period for more than a year, said spokeswoman Connie Wehrkamp. “Naturally, as the timetable shifts, voters are hearing from campaigns earlier. We’re reaching out to them in different ways,” she said.
Lauren Harmon, the Ohio Democratic Party’s coordinated-campaign director, said because about a third of Ohio voters cast ballots before Election Day, early voting “has definitely become more of a centerpiece in the way we plan for elections.” “The early voting period is hugely important to the Democratic ticket this year,” said Harmon, calling early voters “difference-makers.”
“We want to make sure we are moving to get people to cast their ballots now.”