Cuyahoga County Board of Elections expecting large turnout for start of early voting

CLEVELAND - In 2008, some 54,324 people showed up at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections to cast their vote early in the five weeks leading up to that election.

This year, they're preparing for anything once the doors open at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

"You've seen flash mobs," said Board of Elections Director Jane Platten. "I think they're trying to emulate those and do a mob vote concept, so we're prepared for whatever comes our way."

The first phase came Monday night in the form of supporters of President Barack Obama, about eight of them,  who camped out overnight to be among the first in line. "Sleep out the vote," is what they dubbed their effort being carried out at Boards of Election across the state.

The rain didn't dampen their determination. One person who camped out all night told Newschannel 5's Josh Boose is was "cold" and "wet", but otherwise went well.

Occupying one tent was State Senator Nina Turner. "This is symbolic of how important voting is in the State of Ohio," said Turner. "We are the swing state of swing states."

Across the street from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, two porta potties were delivered baring Obama signs, one reading "Women for Obama," to accommodate the needs of those waiting.

Roughly 180,000 voters in the county have requested absentee ballots, which is slightly above the 175,000 requests that had come in by the first day of early voting in 2008.

"We think we're pretty much on target with where we were four years ago," said Platten.

Broken down by party, that's roughly 27 percent of Democratic voters, 32 percent of Republican and 9 percent of non-partisan, which is the largest voting bloc in the county.

For those looking to cast their votes early, the hours are different from four years ago, the BOE is open only on weekdays this time around and for the first three weeks only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

No photo ID is required, but Platten said you will need proof of who you are.

"You need to have the last four of your social or your drivers license number or a copy of a utility bill, military ID, some government document, but not photo," she said.

If you are among those who have requested an absentee ballot know that Oct. 2, is the first day they can be mailed so it may take a few days to actually get to you.

"We have about 100,000 ballots going out tomorrow," Platten said Monday. "Then over the next few days we'll catch up to the 180,000 ballot requests that we actually have in house."

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