Early voting made its Ohio debut in 2008, but according to a recent report, the extra days have not resulted in more ballots being cast.
Turnout statewide in 2008 was just one percent higher than in 2004 when there was no early voting. In 2012, the year when Ohioans arguably had the most access to early voting, turnout was actually lower than in 2004. Muskingum County Board of Elections Director Chris Hamill said the change also hasn’t seemed to boost turnout locally.
"The Secretary of State sent out a directive in 2012 for extended hours for voting during the general election, but Muskingum County did not see an increase of voters."
According to Hamill, whether or not voters head to the polls has more to do with what they are voting on than when they can vote.
"What I see with the extended days and hours to increase the voting, it depends on, a lot of times, what’s on the ballot," Hamill said. "If it’s a statewide issue or if there’s a candidate race in our county, sometimes that will generate more voters."
Hamill said Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted has set the days and hours of in-person voting again this year which will be applied statewide. The Muskingum County Board of Elections will post the dates and times on their website closer to the election.