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Requests for absentee ballots down

Only 1,006 in Lucas County have taken advantage of early voting method

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    Gallagher

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    With one holding open the envelope and another removing the ballot, workers remove an absentee ballot from its envelope.

    Toledo Blade

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Gallagher

THE BLADE/DAVE ZAPOTOSKY
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Lucas County voters don’t seem to be in any hurry to vote this year in the Sept. 10 primary election.

Only 1,006 people had requested absentee ballots as of Friday, compared to 2,731 requests in 2009 during the same time period, said Meghan Gallagher, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections. Absentee voting began Aug. 7.

Voter turnout is traditionally much lower during years when there are no presidential, state, or federal races, Ms. Gallagher said. But this year’s extraordinarily low numbers have even her boggled.

“It could be several factors,” she said. “It is early voting. Some voters could be waiting for Election Day.

“Our job is to be prepared as if every registered voter is going to turn out.”

As a comparison, the total absentee ballot return for the March, 2012, primary was 9,962, according to county election records. The September, 2011, primary only garnered 1,383 absentee ballots.

Early machine voting is running at nearly the same pace this year as in 2009, Ms. Gallagher said. Since Aug. 6, 131 ballots have been cast at the Early Voting Center, compared to 111 during the same period four years ago.

Voters can continue to cast in person at the Early Voting Center, 1500 North Superior Street until Sept. 6. Hours are 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays except Thursdays, when the center is open until 6:30 p.m., and until 6 p.m. on Sept. 6, the Friday before the primary.

Absentee ballots must be delivered to the center by Sept. 7 or be postmarked by Sept. 9 to be counted, Ms. Gallagher said.

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