Waiting in a long line for the Top Thrill Dragster is one thing.
Waiting in a long line to vote is something else entirely.
"Even though people don't mind waiting in line at Cedar Point or for concert tickets, I guess (voting) isn't as important," said Janet Leahy, director of the Seneca County Board of Elections.
Good thing there's a way to vote while still managing to avoid the crowds.
The popularity of casting absentee votes continues to grow and Leahy lists the three reasons a lot of local people are interested in doing so this primary: There is big interest in this election; the requirements to vote as an absentee were relaxed in 2006; and people appreciate conveniences.
It used to be in Ohio that only people who met specific requirements, such as being in the military or moving out of state, could cast an absentee ballot. But after the media and other state leaders lambasted Ohio for problems during the 2004 presidential election, voting absentee was opened to the general public.
Absentee voting gained popularity quickly, election officials say.
In Sandusky County, the ballots were printed by the Board of Elections and distribution began Monday. About 600 ballots were already in the mail by the end of the week, said Board of Elections director Barb Tuckerman.
Casting an absentee ballot can be done two ways -- by sending in a formal, written application that contains all of a person's basic information, or by stopping in at a county elections office.
When submitting an application for an absentee ballot via the postal service, certain requirements must be met.
The ballot must have the voter's name, address, birth date, day of the election for which the ballot is requested, Ohio driver's license number or the last four digits of the voter's Social Security number, a statement the voter is a qualified elector, and the voter's signature, said Huron County Board of Elections Director Sharon Locke. An applicant also must declare a political party because this is a presidential primary election.
Absentee ballots are available all across the state at the board of elections office for each county.
Although plenty of time remains before the ballots are due, Locke urges voters to avoid putting it off.
The Saturday before the election, March 1, is the last day county offices can mail out absentee ballots. Many people assume mail-in ballots need only to be postmarked before the day of the election. That's not correct.
"It has to be in the office by the close of the polls by March 4. Being postmarked doesn't mean anything," Locke said. "And you know how the mail is -- if it's getting down to the last few days, I'd bring it in and drop it off myself to make sure it's in."
To arrange to vote absentee, visit or write:
Huron County Board of Elections, 180 Milan Ave., Norwalk, OH 44857. Open 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. Starting Feb. 16, the office will also be open from 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays until March 1. For information call 419-668-8710.
Seneca County Board of Elections, 71 S. Washington St., Suite 1101, Tiffin, OH 44883. Open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. On March 1, the office will be open from 8:30 a.m. to noon. For information call 419-443-7925.
Erie County Board of Elections, 2900 Columbus Ave., Sandusky, OH 44870. Open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. On March 1, the office will be open from 8 a.m. to noon. 419-627-7601
Sandusky County Board of Elections, 2020 Countryside Drive, Fremont, OH 43420. Open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Starting Feb. 16, the offices will be open 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays until the election. For information call 419-334-6180
Ottawa County Board of Elections, 8444 Ohio 163, Oak Harbor, OH 43449. Residents may vote by absentee ballot at the Board of Election office from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. now to March and also 8:30 a.m. to noon March 1.
An application may be printed from the Ottawa County Web site, www.co.ottawa.oh.us, or voters may call and request that the Board of Elections mail an application to their residence. For information call 419-898-3071.