COLUMBUS, Ohio - Ohio's elections chief expressed confidence Monday that the presidential battleground state is prepared for the start of early voting, despite three early voting days that remain in limbo because of a court challenge.
Ohioans can cast an early ballot by mail or in person beginning Tuesday for the Nov. 6 election.
"Everything in Ohio is ready to go," Secretary of State Jon Husted told reporters in Columbus on the eve of the early voting kick-off.
This fall marks the first time election boards have had uniform early voting hours and the first time absentee ballot applications are being mailed to every registered voter statewide.
More than 922,000 absentee ballot applications have been received by local boards as of Friday, Husted said.
It's unclear how that number compares to the last presidential election, because the state didn't collect the same details on mailed ballots, he said.
Ohio is among 34 states, plus the District of Columbia, where people can vote early without giving a reason. About 30 percent of the state's total vote -- or roughly 1.7 million ballots -- came in ahead of Election Day in 2008.
President Barack Obama won Ohio in 2008, but it's among the closely contested states this year.
Three early voting days remain in flux as the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati considers whether to uphold or overturn a lower court's ruling that voting be allowed on the weekend and Monday before a Tuesday election.
Husted said he has told local boards to expect a directive on the final days "at some point in time."
"It's a matter for the courts right now," he said. "We will comply with whatever guidance the court provides us."
Husted said he doesn't make predictions about turnout in elections. But he noted, "We've seen no evidence to believe that there's going to be an abnormally high or low turnout."
About 7.8 million Ohioans are currently registered to vote, compared with 8.2 million in 2008. Husted said he expects that count to grow slightly. Voter registration in the state ends on Oct. 9.