Election Day: ‘It’s going to be an intense day’

Voting experts anticipate record voter turnout and urge Ohioans to be patient while awaiting official results, which will take several days to get.

“Don’t jump to conclusions, especially in the close races,” said Bob Taft, former Ohio governor and secretary of state and now at the University of Dayton.

“It’s going to be an intense day. There is no doubt about it. And a long night,” said Kyle Strickland, senior legal analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity at the Ohio State University.

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Ballots counted on election night are incomplete. Ohio counts mail-in ballots that arrive up to 10 days after Election Day as long as they’re postmarked by Nov. 2 or dropped off in person at the county boards of elections by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Taft and Strickland serve on a panel of elections experts assembled by the Dayton Daily News to answer voter questions. They spoke during a Dayton Daily News Facebook Live panel discussion on Monday afternoon.

The experts will return at noon Wednesday, Nov. 4, to break down how Election Day went and what Ohioans can expect in the following days.

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Ohio offers 28 days of early voting, online voter registration and opportunities for voters to “cure” problems with their absentee ballots for seven days following Election Day.

Despite those provisions, election officials and voting rights advocates argue that Ohio could improve voting laws to make it easier to vote. Suggestions include: adding more drop box locations where voter can submit their absentee ballots; allowing voters to request absentee ballots online; and expanding early in-person voting sites.

Collin Marozzi, policy strategist for the ACLU of Ohio, said Ohio hasn’t overhauled its voting laws in 15 years. “These aren’t red and blue issues,” he said.

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More than 55,000 poll workers will staff more than 3,500 polling locations. Polls are open 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Anyone in line by 7:30 p.m. will be allowed to cast a ballot.

Curbside voting, which is traditionally used by those with disabilities, will be extended to anyone who is reluctant to enter the polling place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Voters are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing at the polls.