by KYLE McDONALD
Two days prior to early voting ending for the Nov. 6 election, Portage County had surpassed the early vote tally for the 2008 presidential election.
Faith Lyon, director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said 6,014 people voted in person before Election Day in 2008. As of Nov. 3, 2012, 6,898 Portage County residents had voted early.
Last weekend was the first time Portage County conducted early voting on a Sunday. Lyon said the weekend was busy. It was the only weekend county election boards could offer early voting hours, per the order of Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.
Early voting lines were fairly short until last week. "The real lines started last week," Lyon said. "[Sunday was] probably the biggest day."
Lyon said 436 turned out to vote Nov. 3, and estimated that Nov. 4 drew an equal or greater turnout.
Although some groups and colleges have bused voters to the Board of Elections in Ravenna, Lyon said the turnout has mostly been individuals.
"Some people just don't want to go to the poles on Election Day because they're afraid of long lines," she said. "Everyone has their own reasons."
Streetsboro resident Keith Johnson was among the 200 or so people in line to vote Nov. 4.
With his work hours taking up most of his Tuesday, Johnson said he decided to vote early for the first time. After waiting in line about an hour, Johnson was about halfway through the line.
"I just wanted to get in and get my vote counted," he said, adding he didn't expect the wait to be as long as it was. "After an hour you feel committed, but it's worth it. I could be watching some football, but I just felt like getting my vote in."
Lyon said early voters and poll watchers alike have remained calm and civil leading up to the election.
"Everyone has upheld themselves very well," she said. "I think it's out of respect. When you wait in line for a couple hours, people could get cranky, but people are being very kind."
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