Nearly twice as many Highland County residents had participated in early voting as of Tuesday compared to the same period in the 2016 general election, according to data provided by the Highland County Board of Elections.
As of Tuesday, 2,154 Highland County residents had taken advantage of early, in-person voting, which began Oct. 6.
By the tenth day of early, in-person voting for the 2016 general election, 1,235 had voted, according to records. By election day, which took place on Nov. 8 that year, 3,526 voted early and in person.
Board of elections deputy director Heather Loudin said that wait times for early, in-person voting are still longer than in past years — a Hillsboro school board member stated that he waited one hour and 10 minutes Monday — but wait times have decreased since Oct. 6, when a Hillsboro resident told The Times-Gazette that he had waited in line for almost three hours.
Highland County Health Commissioner Jared Warner told The Times-Gazette in a previous interview that the health department and the board of elections are working together to maintain COVID-19 precautions, which has extended wait times.
Due to COVID-19 precautions, poll workers can only allow two people in the board of elections office at a time, or up to three people if they are members of the same household.
To decrease wait times as much as possible, Loudin said early voters should have their driver’s license or other forms of identification ready when they reach the front of the line.
Early voters should also wear a mask while waiting in line and voting, and maintain at least six feet in all directions between themselves and other voters.
Community members may contact the Highland County Board of Elections at 937-393-9961 for more information on current wait times.
Early voting takes place at the Highland County Board of Elections, located at the Hi-Tech Center at 1575 N. High St., Suite 200, Hillsboro.
Those who want to avoid the lines associated with in-person voting may request an absentee ballot until Oct. 31 at 12 p.m., according to the office of Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.
Loudin told The Times-Gazette that the Highland County Board of Elections office has received 4,332 applications for absentee ballots. As of Monday, 602 residents had returned their completed absentee ballots.
Absentee ballots must be postmarked by Monday, Nov. 2 in order to be counted, according to LaRose. Community members may also return absentee ballots to the Highland County Board of Elections by 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 3. Absentee ballots are counted first on Election Day, according to LaRose’s office.
Community members may submit applications in the following ways:
* Download and complete a fillable PDF of the application, which can be found at www.boe.ohio.gov/comoh/Absentee_Request_11-A.pdf. Community members can submit their completed applications by emailing the documents to highland@OhioSoS.gov or by mailing the documents to: Highland Board of Elections, Hi-Tech Center, 1575 N. High St., Suite 200, Hillsboro, Ohio 45133.
* Those who do not have access to a computer, printer or email should call the Highland County Board of Elections at 937-393-9961 and, if necessary, leave a detailed message to request an application. The board of elections will then mail an application.
Early voting hours at the Highland County Board of Elections are:
Oct. 19 to Oct. 23 — 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Oct. 25 — 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Oct. 26 to 30 — 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Oct. 31 — 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Nov. 1 — 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Nov. 2 — 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
On Nov. 3, Election Day, Highland County residents should vote at their polling locations. The polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Find your polling location at lookup.boe.ohio.gov/vtrapp/highland/pollfinder.aspx.
The following are the contested races and issues that Highland County residents can expect on the ballot for the upcoming election:
* U.S. Congress 2nd District — Democratic candidate Jaime M. Castle, write-in candidate James J. Condit, and Republican candidate Brad Wenstrup.
* State Rep. 91st District — Democratic candidate Scott M. Dailey and Republican candidate Shane Wilkin.
* Member of State Board of Education 10th District — Mary E. Binegar and Brendan P. Shea.
* Ohio Supreme Court Justice 01/01/2021 — John P. O’Donnell and Sharon L. Kennedy.
* Ohio Supreme Court Justice 01/02/2021 — Jennifer Brunner and Judi French.
* Judge of Ohio Court of Appeals 4th District UTE 02/08/2023 — Stacy Brooks and Kristy Wilkin.
* Issue 1 — “An additional tax for the benefit of Penn Township for the purpose of cemetery maintenance at a rate not exceeding 0.5 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.05 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five years, commencing in 2020, first due in calendar year 2021.”
* Issue 2 — “A renewal of a tax for the benefit of Highland County for the purpose of providing sufficient funds to carry out the health programs of the Highland County Board of Health at a rate not exceeding 0.5 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.05 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for five years, commencing in 2020, first due in calendar year 2021.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.