Ohio voters face long lines at election centers as early voting begins

Ohio residents faced long lines at election centers as the state held its first day of early voting on Tuesday ahead of the 2020 presidential election, according to multiple reports.

Hundreds of voters lined up to submit their ballots in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Toledo and other communities around the state. Election officials were bracing for an increased early voting turnout and higher volume of mail-in ballot submissions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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“We’re seeing more than normal. Exponentially more,” Julie Stahl, elections board director in Wayne County, Ohio, told the Wooster Daily Record.

By the time an early voting center in downtown Toledo opened at 8 a.m. local time, the line to vote had already wrapped around the block, the Toledo Blade reported. Residents described showing up hours early to secure their spot.

In Montgomery County, election officials reported that early voting was “running smoothly,” with about 400 people casting in-person ballots by 9:30 a.m. local time, the Dayton Daily News reported.

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In an interview earlier this week with Fox News, Sec. of State Frank LaRose, Ohio’s chief elections officer, identified poll staffing as a key consideration ahead of Election Day. As of Monday, the state had recruited 46,000 poll workers and set a goal of 55,000 workers by Nov. 3.

Aside from the start of early voting, Ohio began sending mail-in ballots to state residents who filled out an application on Tuesday. More than two million residents have submitted applications to receive a mail-in ballot, doubling totals from 2016 and 2012.

Recent polls show Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden with a slight edge over President Trump in the key battleground state. Trump won Ohio in 2016.

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