ASHLAND -- More than 75 percent of registered voters in Ashland County participated in the general election, according to unofficial election results posted Tuesday evening by the Ashland County Board of Elections.
Exactly 26,244 of 34,837 ballots were already accounted for on election night, bringing voter turnout to an impressive 75.33 percent -- without provisional or any remaining mail-in ballots yet to be counted.
The figure didn't meet the the board of elections director, Shannon Johnson's expectations of more than 80 percent, but it easily surpassed turnout figures from all but one year since at least 1989. Only the 1992 general election saw a greater turnout. In the election where Democratic candidate Bill Clinton defeated incumbent Republican President George H. W. Bush, 21,100 of 25,906 registered Ashland County voters (81.44 percent) cast ballots.
Between then and now, voter turnout would only top 70 percent three more times. Voter turnout reached 71.80 percent in the 1996 general election, 73.85 percent in the 2004 general election and 70.80 percent in the 2016 general election.
If all remaining provisional and mail-in ballots were to be included in the final results for the general election, voter turnout would reach 77.89 percent. About 95 percent of mail-in ballots have already been returned, leaving 333 outstanding, and 556 provisional ballots are yet to be included in Ashland County's official totals.
"There are quite a few provisionals cast by voters who were issued an absentee ballot," Johnson said. "We will verify that absentee was not returned. If it was not returned, the provisional will be included in the official numbers."
The board of elections will meet to decide the validity of those ballots on Nov. 16. The office will then recount the ballots and add the provisionals and late arriving absentees on Nov. 17. Official results will be certified on Nov. 18.
Though total voter turnout didn't eclipse the former county record, it was the highest turnout Johnson has seen in her career.
"Also, the most work in preparations due to COVID. And probably the most expensive," Johnson said.
Further, the number of early in-person voters did beat a record. In Ashland County 10,006 in-person voters cast votes before 2 p.m. Monday, Nov. 2.
See how Ashland County voted here.