According to Director of Elections Beth Dlug, 238,920 people are registered to vote, compared to 253,320 two years ago. That's to be expected, Dlug said. But this year's registration level represents a 4.5 percent increase over the 228,579 people eligible to vote in 2006.
That trend is also reflected – and then some – in the number of people voting at the Election Board's office before Election Day next Tuesday. Dlug said 3,312 had voted as of this morning, compared with 11,091 early voters in 2008. But in 2006, she said, just 1,247 early votes had been recorded. That means this year's early turnout is about 165 percent higher than four years ago.
Mail-in ballots, however, show a decrease when compared to 2008 and 2006. To date, 3,943 ballots have been returned, compared to 4,345 in 2006 – a 9.2 percent decrease. Two years ago, 7,437 ballots had been returned by mail. Dlug said 2,127 mail-in ballots have yet to be returned – 40 fewer than in 2006.
“Does the (increased) early voting mean people are just taking advantage of convenience, or does it mean we'll see increased turnout on Tuesday? It will be interesting to see what happens,” Dlug said.
Those outstanding absentee ballots must be returned to the Election Board by noon Monday.
Dlug said early ballots can be cast until noon Monday at the board's offices on the first floor of the City-County Building. Early voters, like those going to the polls Tuesday, must show a photo ID.
Dlug reminded voters that this year's ballot is up to nine pages long, including not only a lengthy question about adding property tax caps to the state Constitution but also two votes for the 3rd District congressional race – one to fill former Rep. Mark Souder's term that expires Jan. 3 and the second to fill the succeeding two-year term.
The polls will be open 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, Dlug said. To find your polling place, go to www.acimap.us/aceb