Signs supporting opposing senatorial candidates Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown have been seen around Van Wert. Make sure you have permission before you place a campaign sign. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
BY ED GEBERT
Times Bulletin Editor
VAN WERT - The campaigns are running hot and heavy, and the emotion of a Nov. 6 election is already apparent. Ballots are being cast early at a startling pace and the requests for absentee ballots statewide have topped 1.1 million.
All over the county, campaign signs are popping up in yards and along roadways. However, there are rules about placing these signs. Van Wert County Board of Elections Director Linda Stutz said her office has received numerous calls about where signs can be placed."Anyone putting up signs should always ask permission from the resident of the home before placing signs in their yards," she reminded local residents. "Signs should also not be put in the highway right of way per the Ohio Department of Transportation."
As for traffic inside the Election Board office, Stutz noted that the pace of incoming ballots has been incredible. Through the first four days, 404 came into the office to vote early. As of Tuesday around noon, Stutz reported that more than 1,600 ballots have already been cast including absentee ballots that have been mailed to the office.
A total of 1,808 absentee ballot requests were received in Van Wert County last week. Statewide, 1,120,682 such requests were made through Oct. 5 with 13,100 of those coming from overseas and military personnel. By Friday, nearly 60,000 Ohioans had already cast ballots in the November election.
"We are off to a good start. I want to thank the 88 county boards of elections for their hard work to ensure voting is accessible, fair and secure in the Buckeye State," Secretary of State Jon Husted said in a release.
Questions still remain over when the last day to vote early will be in Ohio. Husted announced Tuesday that he will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to make the final determination on whether the Ohio General Assembly or the federal courts should set Ohio election laws. Husted will be appealing the Friday decision by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Obama v. Husted.
"This ruling not only doesn't make legal sense, it doesn't make practical sense," Husted stated. "The court is saying that all voters must be treated the same way under Ohio law, but also grants Ohio's 88 elections boards the authority to establish 88 different sets of rules. That means that one county may close down voting for the final weekend while a neighboring county may remain open. How any court could consider this a remedy to an equal protection problem is stunning."
As of this time, Stutz said she will wait for a directive from Husted on the possibility of having the office open on Nov. 3-5 for voting, the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Election Day. Current hours are from 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. for voting. Voting hours are extended to 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. from Oct. 22 - Nov. 2.
Husted declared, "Since some boards of elections have already started to take action on hours of operation for the three days before Election Day, I am going to take time to consult with all 88 counties before crafting a directive to set uniform hours should the state not be successful upon appeal."
Even though the ballot in Van Wert County has few local races, voters will have choices for U.S. President, U.S. Senate, U.S. House of Representatives 5th District, Ohio State Representative 82nd District, three races for Ohio Supreme Court Justice, and 1st District member of the State Board of Education. In addition, two statewide issues are on the ballot, and a renewal levy for Vantage Career Center appears as well.