Record-Courier Staff Report

Portage County election officials are projecting a 70 percent local turnout for this year’s presidential election. That’s 2.1 percentage points lower than four years ago.

Faith Lyon, director of the county board of elections, said the turnout is based on a decrease in voter registration.

"Our registration numbers are down. We were at 109,000 (in 2008). We’re at 108,000 this year," Lyon said Friday. The total of registered voters for this election is 108,154.

As of Thursday night, 5,928 people had voted in person at the county election office in Ravenna. Another 14,572 paper absentee ballots had been mailed out with 11,037 received back as of Thursday.

That’s right in line with Lyon’s estimate at the start of early voting. Lyon estimated there would be 13,000 to 17,000 absentee ballots by Election Day. That was compared to the tally four years ago that was just shy of 14,000 early ballots.

That shows that early voting is definitely catching on in Ohio, with a larger number of voters not waiting for the polls to open on Election Day.

Lyon said the office was very busy on Friday.

"It’s becoming very reminiscent of 2008, with the line down the hall," Lyon said.

More voters were expected to take advantage of the first-ever Sunday voting in Portage County.

Lyon encouraged voters to have one of the required forms of identification ready when they get to the polling place.

"Not having that ID ready really does slow down the process," she said.

The elections office is open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. The office is located in the Portage County Administration Building, at 449 S. Meridian St., Ravenna.

On Election Day Tuesday, polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. all over Portage County.