A tsunami of Democrats seeking ballots through the mail in this pandemic-plagued presidential election year is upending the very dynamics of voting in Ohio.
The impact of this ground-shaking change shows up in two major ways:
The outcome of the presidential race in the bellwether Buckeye State appears even more unpredictable than usual.
Ohio could be among the states where election fraud is alleged simply because the leader in the presidential vote could shift dramatically on election night and possibly shift back a week-and-a-half later.
Before COVID-19 hit, more Ohio Republicans than Democrats voted by mail, generally speaking. Democrats favored voting early in person at their county elections board, or going to the polls Election Day.
But in 2020, Democrats are far outdistancing GOP voters in requesting absentee ballots.
For example, at this point in the 2016 election, Stark County Democrats had asked for 6,000 mail ballots, compared with nearly 10,000 for Republicans.
This year, the Canton-area Democrats have sought more than 19,000, the Republicans fewer than 12,000.
Democratic ballot requests have more than tripled in Hamilton County as well, leaping from fewer than 17,000 four years ago to about 51,000 in 2020. Republicans have gone from about 16,000 to nearly 23,000.
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