Hundreds of Clark, Champaign County residents cast ballots on first day of early voting

Tuesday marked the first day of early voting for November’s general election and residents across Clark and Champaign Counties lined up to cast their ballots.

In Clark County, crowds started gathering early at the county’s new early voting location at the Turner Studio Theater at the Clark State Performing Arts Center at 300 S. Fountain Ave. in Springfield. The Board of Elections moved the county’s early voting location from the BOE office to allow for more voting check-in stations while maintaining social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Jason Baker, director Clark County’s BOE, said the county’s new voting location is “fantastic.”

“I have a lot of praises about the location and the set-up of the location. Clark State really came through for us,” Baker said.

Baker said the board expected high turnout for the first day of early voting. At one point Tuesday morning, the line for voting stretched out the front door of the center and down the road about a block to the neighboring railroad tracks.

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“But the lines move in a calm and steady manner,” Baker said.

Despite the long line, Felicia Johnson said she was still able to cast her vote quickly.

“I was only in line for about half an hour or so. It still gives me time to get to my job and the line moved really fast. I liked it,” Johnson said.

Wanda and Richard Hankison agreed with Johnson. They said they waited in line “for about 45 minutes.” The couple said they early vote for every election.

Credit: Bill Lackey

“I came out to vote early because I knew who I was going to vote for both nationally and local and I was not going to change my mind so I just came early to get it done,” Wanda Hankison said.

Champaign County voters were also met with lines at the county’s BOE office at 1512 S. U.S. Hwy 68, Suite L100 in Urbana. Director Meredith Bodey said there was a “line waiting for us,” the when office was opened at 8 a.m.

“Since then it’s been steady,” Bodey said.

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Bodey said she wasn’t sure how many people had voted on Tuesday, but at one point the line “backed up to the front door,” something that rarely happens, even on election day.

“We definitely have a lot more people,” Bodey said. “Things are going smoothly though.”

Baker said he also wasn’t sure how many Clark County residents had voted, but at 9:30 a.m. he guessed that roughly “a couple hundred," had already cast their ballot.

In addition to early in-person voting, absentee ballots were also scheduled to begin being mailed out on Tuesday, Baker said the BOE is scheduled to send out about 20,000 ballots over the course of the next couple of days.

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When and where you can vote early in person

Early in-person voting hours are uniform across Ohio’s counties.

Today-Friday, Oct. 9, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 12-Oct 16, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

Monday-Friday, Oct. 19-Oct. 23, 8 a.m.–6 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, Oct. 25, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Monday-Frdiay Oct. 26-Oct. 30, 8 a.m.-7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 31, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.

Sunday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m.-5 p.m.

Monday, Nov. 2, 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Early voting locations:

Clark County

(New location for early voting) Turner Studio Theatre at the Clark State Performing Arts Center

300 South Fountain Ave., Springfield

Mailing Address: PO Box 1766 Springfield, OH 45501-1766 Telephone: (937) 521-2120 Fax: (937) 328-2603 E-mail: elections@clark.boe.ohio.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/clark/

Champaign County

Champaign County Board of Elections

1512 South U.S. Hwy 68, Suite L100 Urbana

Telephone: (937) 484-1575 Fax: (937) 484-1578 E-mail: champaig@OhioSoS.gov Website: www.boe.ohio.gov/champaign/

Election Day

Nov. 3: Election Day. Polls open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Voters are able to drop off an absentee ballot at their county board of elections office until 7:30 p.m.

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