Politics

Mail-In, Early Voting Helped Power Moreno to Quick Victory in Ohio

Trump-backed businessman Bernie Moreno cruised to a quick victory in Ohio’s Republican U.S. Senate primary thanks in part to MAGA voters’ strong showing in early and absentee voting.

The Associated Press called the three-way race for the Senate nomination just an hour after polls closed on Tuesday, marking a blowout win. However, while Moreno cleaned up with election-day voters, he was also very competitive in the early and absentee vote, where his top opponent, State Sen. Matt Dolan (R-OH), was expected to perform better.

Kye Kondik, an election analyst and the managing editor of Sabato’s Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics, posted on X shortly after the call that early and absentee votes were “basically even between Dolan and Moreno, but Moreno is winning [Election]-Day so far by like 25 points.”

Ohio’s primary law allows for early and absentee votes to be scanned before election day but not tabulated, as Cuyahoga County Board of Election Community Outreach Department Manager Mike West told WKYC ahead of the election. These votes are the first results seen on an election night, he told the outlet:

“We are allowed to begin scanning ballots before the election. Because there can be hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots, we need to start scanning those before election day, because if we had to wait until election day to scan those ballots, it would take several days, even on our high speed scanners. So the law allows us to begin scanning, but not tabulating, in advance of the election.”

“We tabulate them when the polls close at 7:30 on election night. That’s why if you’re looking for the results on our website, the first election results you’ll see come from the absentee ballots.”

The Ohio Secretary of State website cumulative data reports that 231,546 Republican ballots were cast via early voting in person or through mail-in ballots that were not just requested, but returned.

When 235,959 votes were tabulated as of 8:26 p.m., Moreno led with 39.5 percent to Dolan’s 38 percent, while Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose followed with 22.5 percent,  according to a New York Times election results archive from Tuesday night. Moments later, Moreno began to break away from the pack, and the official AP call came at 8:35 p.m. ET.

With more than 95 percent of the vote estimated to have been tabulated by Wednesday morning, Moreno soared to 50.5 percent,  according to the Times, placing him some 18 points ahead of Dolan. As of this writing, Moreno is sweeping every single county in the Buckeye State.



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