By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer

With one day of early voting left before Election Day Tuesday, Portage County has surpassed the early vote tally for the 2008 presidential election.

Faith Lyon, director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said 6,014 people voted in person before Election Day in 2008. As of Saturday, 6,898 Portage County residents have voted early this year.

This weekend was the first time Portage County held early voting on a Sunday. Lyon said the weekend was busy, as it was the only weekend county election boards could hold early voting hours, per order of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.

Early voting lines were fairly short until last week.

"The real lines started last week," Lyon said. "(Sunday was) probably the biggest day."

Lyon said 436 turned out to vote Saturday, and estimated that Sunday drew an equal or greater turnout.

Although some groups and colleges have bused voters to the Board of Elections in Ravenna, Lyon said the turnout has mostly been individuals.

"Some people just don’t want to go to the poles on Election Day because they’re afraid of long lines," she said. "Everyone has their own reasons."

Streetsboro resident Keith Johnson was among the couple hundred people in line to vote Sunday.

With his work hours taking up most of his Tuesday, Johnson said he decided to vote early for the first time this year.

After waiting in line for about an hour, Johnson was about halfway through the line.

"I just wanted to get in and get my vote counted," he said, adding that he didn’t expect the wait to be as long as it was. "After an hour you feel committed, but it’s worth it. I could be watching some football, but I just felt like getting my vote in."

Lyon said early voters and poll watchers alike have remained calm and civil leading up to the election.

"Everyone has upheld themselves very well," she said. "I think it’s out of respect. When you wait in line for a couple hours, people could get cranky, but people are being very kind."

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