Democratic Ballot Requests Up, Republican Requests Down For May Primary

Early voting begins at Cuyahoga County Board of Elections [Lucas Fortney / ideastream]
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Early voting began in-person today for the May 8th primary election, with mail-in ballots being sent to voters across Cuyahoga County.

Pat McDonald, Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, estimates 80,000 individuals will cast early votes between now and May 8th. That’s about ten thousand more than the last midterm election.

The total number of voters in this year’s primary is also expected to increase by approximately forty-thousand compared to the last midterm election. But McDonald says these additional voters might not split evenly between the Democratic and Republican parties.

“At this point in time, current Democrat vote-by-mail requests are outpacing requests from 2014, while Republican requests are behind,” McDonald said. “As of yesterday, we have approximately 24,000 Democratic requests compared to 18,000 at this point in time at 2014. Meanwhile, we’ve only received about 4,000 Republican requests compared to 7,000 in 2014.”

According to McDonald, these numbers may indicate a stronger interest in the Democratic primary among Cuyahoga County voters. They may also suggest that Democratic voters will turnout in higher numbers in this year’s general election.

“However, this trend may also be attributable to the various political mailings that have already gone out, most of which were from the Democratic candidates,” McDonald added.

 He expects more conclusive turnout estimates as voters return their ballots over the next week. 

And to track voter turnout on election day, the Board is launching a voter turnout widget. Using this application, Board of Elections officials will be able to track election day turnout in real time by city, precinct, and ward.

“We can monitor exactly how many people have voted at any location across the county,” McDonald said.

While real time turnout results from the May primary will be accessible online, McDonald remained confident that the voting process is secure from outside interference.

“I want to let the public know that our voting tabulation system is independent from the internet,” McDonald said. “There is no internet connectivity. It is run on a private server so there is no way to hack into our tabulation system.”

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