Early voting underway in Ohio

Early voting started Wednesday in Ohio. (WSYX/WTTE)

The 2016 election is officially underway. Early voting started in Ohio on Wednesday.

Early voting for the Nov. 8 election began Wednesday at 8:00am. Residents can either vote absentee by mail or in person without having to give a reason.

Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted says county boards of elections statewide have received nearly 1.1 million absentee ballot applications. And there's still time to request an absentee ballot. Boards must receive the applications by noon on Nov. 5.

In Franklin County, in-person early voting is at the Board of Elections on Morse Road. More than a dozen OSU students from "Buckeyes for Hillary" camped out in the parking lot to be the first to cast their ballots.

The Trump campaign called the campout a "gimmick" to distract people, and say they will be using every day of early voting to bring out their voters to the polls.

Voters will have the chance to decide races for congressional and state legislative seats, justices of the Ohio Supreme Court and appellate judges, and members of the state Board of Education. Around the state, local candidates and more than 1,800 local issues, including school levies, also are on ballots.

Franklin County election officials said nearly half of the votes will be cast before Election Day November 8th.

Some people simply wanted to make sure their vote was counted.

"I actually had a dream a week ago that I was going to pass away before Election Day," said Steve Murray who voted during his lunch break. "If I couldn't vote against Donald Trump, I would just not live with myself."

Others want to make sure their candidate doesn't fall behind.

"I decided the day (Trump) decided (to run I was supporting him)," said Darren Spray who also voted early Wednesday. "I said it many, many years ago that he should run."

The Franklin County Board of Elections expects roughly 250,000 people to vote early. That many people voting could make it more difficult for candidates to try and convince some voters to support them at the last minute.

"At this point, the hardcore Trump voters are going to vote for Donald Trump regardless and the hardcore Clinton voters are going to vote for Hillary regardless," said Dan Tokaji, an elections law professor at Ohio State. "Anything that happens is extremely unlikely to change their minds."

The Early Voting Center on Morse Road will be open weekdays from 8am until 5pm through October 21st. After that, the hours will vary.

Absentee ballots were put in the mail Wednesday.

About 2,300 people cast their ballot on the first day of early voting.

Franklin County election officials said nearly half of the votes will be cast before Election Day November 8th.

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