STEUBENVILLE - Ohio residents can vote during evening hours this week, as well as on Saturday, Sunday and on Monday afternoon just prior to Tuesday's presidential election.
The Ohio Secretary of State's Office has directed county boards of elections to stay open for extended hours this week to accommodate those wishing to cast in-person absentee ballots. Hours in all counties are as follows:
- Today, Wednesday and Thursday - 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
- Friday- 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Saturday - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. (Also the last day absentee ballots will be mailed out to voters.)
- Sunday - 1-5 p.m.
- Monday - 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Voters still be able to return their absentee ballots to their respective county boards of elections until the close of polls at 7:30 p.m. on Election Day.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted directed county boards of elections to offer additional voting hours this week following a ruling by a three-member panel of the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals this month. The panel found Ohio's policy of stopping in-person voting three days before the election on Friday - but allowing military and overseas voting through Monday - to be unfair.
"We're just going back to the way we did things before," said Diane Gribble, director of elections in Jefferson County. "In years prior, we always voted on Monday - we're just going back to those procedures."
She added that offering in-person absentee voting through Monday afternoon does create more work for the office, as employees must cross off the voting books the names of those already casting ballots. But Gribble said it is work her office has performed in the past.
And many already have cast ballots in Ohio, according to local elections officials.
In Jefferson County, an estimated 8,700 of about 49,500 registered voters already have voted, according to Gribble.
"We've already exceeded 2008, which was the largest (number of absentee voters) we had ever seen," she said.
William Shubat, director of elections in Belmont County, said his office had received more than 14,000 absentee ballots as of Monday afternoon. There are 49,830 registered voters in the county.
"In 2008, we received14,142, and we will go over that," he said.
Monroe County has 10,442 registered voters, and more than 2,000 already have voted, said Mollie Landefeld, deputy director of elections.
Absentee voting also has been brisk in Harrison County, where there are 10,635 registered voters. Bette Hill, a member of the Harrison County Board of Elections, said about 1,900 have submitted ballots there.
Ohioans who need more information about voting should contact the the board of elections in Belmont County at 740-526-0188; in Harrison County at 740-942-8866; in Jefferson County at 740-283-8522; or in Monroe County at 740-472-0929.