Early voting underway in Ohio

NORWOOD, Ohio (AP) — In-person voting began Wednesday in the swing state of Ohio, where a host of state and local offices are up for grabs.

Residents lined up at county voting centers across the state Wednesday morning.

Rod Sommer, 78, was first in line in Hamilton County. The Cincinnati resident said he was there an hour before doors opened at 8 a.m. EDT. He described himself as an Army veteran concerned about issues led by health care, jobs and education.

Phylllis Landrum-Hoskins, 57, of suburban Springdale, was there a half hour early. She sees this as a "very important" election for the nation.

"We don't need to make American great again," she said, referring to Republican President Donald Trump's slogan. "It's always been great. We need to get it on the correct course."

Democratic U.S. House candidates Aftab Pureval and Jill Schiller, both trying to unseat Republican incumbents, helped lead a rally of county candidates and their supporters.

"The only way we can make our voices heard is by showing up and voting," said Pureval, who faces Rep. Steve Chabot. Schiller opposes Rep. Brad Wenstrup.

Hamilton County Republicans have a series of rallies and other get-out-the-vote activities planned in the remaining days, and Trump will try to boost Republican candidates in a Friday evening rally in neighboring Warren County.

Voter registration closed on Tuesday.

The early voting can be done via mail-in absentee ballot or in person at a voter's county elections board or early voting center designated by the county. Military and overseas absentee balloting began Sept. 22. For now, in-person voting is Monday-Friday, but weekend in-person voting will be possible closer to the Nov. 6 midterm election.

Besides state and federal offices and a statewide ballot issue, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said voters will decide 1,661 local issues as well as many local races. A virtual voter toolkit allows Ohio residents to check the status of their voter registration, find their polling location, view their sample ballot and track absentee ballots.

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Associated Press writer Julie Carr Smyth contributed in Columbus.