Jessica Barga, Senior Staff Writer

This voting season, over 20,000 people in Butler County are opting to cast their votes by mail rather than heading to the polls.

Although early votes cannot be cast until Oct. 2, the Butler County Board of Elections (BCBE) has already sent out tens of thousands of absentee ballot forms.

“So far, we have roughly 20,136 [absentee forms]…compared to 2008, they had 20,077 ballots go out, so we’re already past that number,” Jacrisia McKinnon, early voting manager at the BCBE, said.

Part of the reason for the high volume of absentee ballot requests is a letter sent by the Ohio Secretary of State earlier this month that included an absentee ballot request form.

“We’re getting a high number of returns from that mailing,” McKinnon said.

This year’s paper ballot is cost-effective, costing about 85 cents to mail out, McKinnon said.

“A lot of people are very passionate about politics and they want to get out and vote,” McKinnon said.

On campus, several groups are working to encourage students to apply for their absentee ballots or head to the polls on Election Day.

Senior Meghan Wadsworth, co-chair for College Republicans, said the group has been working hard to keep students involved in the election process.

“We offer to help collect applications for absentee ballots, so [we’re] able to turn them in for people,” Wadsworth said.

The College Republicans also work toward helping people understand where they are registered to vote, whether that’s in Oxford or in their hometown, Wadsworth said.

All this helps to remind students of the importance of planning ahead to make sure their vote gets cast, Wadsworth said.

“It’s a good reminder for students…it’s raising awareness and encourages people to register early so they don’t miss out on election day,” Wadsworth said.

Senior Stacey Mighton, College Democrats Secretary, said the group also does its part to encourage students to stay involved.

“We’re just trying to reach out to people because we believe this election is a very important one,” Mighton said.

The College Democrats, like the Republicans, also help students to think about where they are registered to vote, whether out-of-state or here in Oxford.

“If someone is from another state and there’s an important issue they want to vote on there, then they should vote in their home state,” Mighton said. “But [at Miami] it’s easier…if you’re on-campus you vote in Shriver, and if you’re off-campus you vote in town.”

The last day to apply for an absentee ballot in Butler County is Oct. 9.

Election day is Nov. 6.