Record number of absentees possible

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Will it be Hillary or Barack?

In almost two weeks the Ohio primary may give the decisive nod to the candidate expected to take the Democratic nomination.

As part of online campaigning, Obama’s Web site has the tag line: “Vote for Barack today. Why wait until March 4.”

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In other words, vote absentee. And if the trend continues, this primary in Lawrence County may top any number of absentee ballots voted in the past.

The first ballots went out locally on Feb. 8 and as of the start of the business day Tuesday,

the Lawrence County Board of Elections had processed 1,900 applications that are needed before a ballot is sent out.

“It may be a record number of primary absentees,” Eric Bradshaw, deputy director of the board of elections, said. “We got a couple hundred applications (Tuesday). If the trend continues we could possible have 3,000 applications processed. ”

That could translate into 2,500 absentee votes, which would dwarf the 2006 primary when approximately 2,000 absentee ballots were voted.

However, the Democratic presidential primary race isn’t apparently fueling the local desire to vote absentee. Bradshaw reports more Republicans have requested absentee ballots than Democrats by almost 3 to 2 ratio.

From comments made by voters returning the ballots, Bradshaw thinks the impetus comes from the Republican side of County Commission primary for the seat now held by Tanner Heaberlin, the Democrat who was appointed to the seat held by the late George Patterson.

Tyler Walters, Les Boggs and Bob Mayo are running in the GOP primary to be the candidate to face Heaberlin in November.

In Ohio voting absentee is simply by choice. There are no specific requirements a voter must meet to vote this way. They simply fill out an application, which can be sent to a voter or filled out in the board of elections office.

The voter gives his name, address, birthday and one of the following: his Ohio’s driver’s license number, the last four digits of the Social Security number, a copy of a current and valid photo identification, a paycheck, utility bill, government check, or bank statement with name and current address.

The deadline for applications to be sent out is noon March 1.

The ballot can be returned by the close of the polls on election day.