10K county residents vote early

LISBON — More than 10,000 Columbiana County residents submitted their ballots either by absentee ballot or by stopping by the board of elections for early voting dates.

Board of Elections Director Adam Booth said Monday he expects that the 10,174 received will represent about 20 to 25 percent of the voters who will vote in total in this county. During recent presidential elections about 70 percent of registered Columbiana County voters have submitted a ballot. Early voters and absentee voters requested 10,864 ballots, although not all have been returned.

The 10,174 received were about 300 more than the 2012 election. Booth said he does not see anything in the numbers which would suggest fewer are going to vote this election.

Numbers show 3,630 requesting an absentee ballot or early voting are registered Republicans, while 1,960 were registered Democrats. The largest numbers are non-partisan voters, 5,273.

The local polling places open this morning at 6:30 and close at 7:30 p.m. Voters cannot continue to vote at the board of elections on Dickey Drive in Lisbon, where early voting ended at 2 p.m. Monday.

At a meeting Monday night, elections board members reviewed a few handfuls of problem ballots, determining if they could tell the intent of someone who scratched out a name or put an “X” through a filled-in bubble and then filled in a second bubble. In some cases, the board determined that someone had voted for two candidates in the same race and their vote will not count for that race alone.

A few other ballots were questioned because the voter filled in the circle for their candidate and then also wrote the same candidate in as a write-in for the same race. Only one of those votes for that candidate will count.

In a small handful of cases, the absentee ballot cannot be counted currently because the voter did not use the proper envelope to return it or forgot to sign the envelope or provide required proof of who they are such as the last four digits of their social security number or a valid driver’s license number. Booth said those few voters have seven days following the election to prove their identity by providing proof to the board of elections.

Booth also pointed out an absentee ballot costs the board about $2.50 for the printing of the ballot, the envelope and mailing costs. One voter returned the ballot after choosing to only vote for president and in that race the voter wrote in the name of Scooby-Doo.

While there are 18 possible acceptable write-in candidate combinations for president and vice president, Scooby-Doo is not one of them.