Like many other places around the United States, Fulton County had a large turnout for the 2020 presidential election. In fact, it was the county’s largest turnout in 28 years.
“Voter turnout was higher than the most recent presidential elections,” said Melanie Gilders, Fulton County Board of Elections Director. “We ended with an overall turnout of 77.92%.”
That is the highest turnout since 1992, when Bill Clinton defeated incumbent George Bush, and a third challenger, H. Ross Perot. In that year, the turnout was 80.75%.
In 2016, turnout was 74.38%. In 2012 it was 73.30%, in 2008 it was 74.89%, and it was 77.84% in 2004.
The German Township precinct had the highest turnout in the county this year, at 85.79%. Clinton East was also slightly over 85%.
The lowest turnout was in the Wauseon Three precinct, at 63.99%.
With the COVID-19 pandemic still gripping the nation, many in Fulton County decided to vote before Election Day.
“By far, this election had the highest number of absentee ballots and early in-person votes cast in our history,” Gilders said. “We had a combined total of 12,778 votes cast during the absentee and early voting period.”
Absentee and early voting accounted for 55.6% of the total turnout, with the rest voting at the polls on Election Day.
Out of the 12,778, 7,830 voters cast their ballot in person, 4,764 cast their ballot by mail, 81 were nursing home voters, 88 were military and overseas, and 15 hand-carried.
The number of early in-person voters obliterated the previous high.
Prior to this year, the highest in-person voting Fulton County had ever experienced was in 2016, at 2,800, and the most mail-out ballots processed was in the March 2020 extended primary at 4,259, according to Gilders.
Though there were votes added to the total after Election Day, none of the race outcomes changed. There were 32 valid absentee ballots and 421 valid provisional ballots including in the official count on Nov. 17.
Gilders said there were no major issues around Fulton County.
“Everything went really smoothly throughout this entire election cycle,” she said. “In all elections, there are small things that happen with paper jams and paper roll issues, but there were not any major setbacks or issues.”
She added that all 17 polling locations were shut down and reconciled quickly, and all ballots, equipment, and election returns were back to the Board of Elections on election night by 9:15 p.m.
“We would like to thank all of the voters who cast their ballot during this unprecedented election,” she said. “As we continue to wrap up the remainder of this election cycle, Fulton County, as well as all counties in Ohio, will be conducting a post-election audit to verify the accuracy of the results reported.”
Reach Drew Stambaugh at 419-335-2010