COLUMBUS, Ohio — The early vote for Tuesday’s election has surpassed the entire early-vote number for the state’s last election in August, according to state elections data.
The increased early voting comes as Ohioans weigh whether to approve state Issue 1, which would add abortion rights to the state constitution, and Issue 2, which would legalize recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. It points to unusually high voter turnout for a second state election in a row, by the standards of an off-year election, after 39% of voters cast ballots in August and soundly rejected a measure that would have made it harder for Issue 1 to pass.
Through Sunday, voters had cast 864,525 ballots, compared to 757,653 who voted early for the entire August election. The numbers include the 79,388 people who voted early and in person on Saturday and Sunday during the state’s first and only weekend hours for early in-person voting.
Breaking the numbers down further, voting is up slightly in rural counties, translating to a net 18,515 increase in votes from those areas compared to August, when accounting for a smaller increase in voting from urban counties and suburban counties.
The shift could be favorable for opponents of both ballot issues. However, it’s relatively small, and as always, it’s not clear whether an increased early vote reflects increased overall voting, or people just changing their habits.
Early voting meanwhile was pivotal for the defeat of the August issue, with…