EDITOR'S NOTE: This story is in response to a reader-submitted question through Open Source, a platform where readers can submit questions to the staff. Richland Source reader Gloria Curtis asked, “What are/were the numbers of early voters in Richland County? What were the numbers of new voter registrations? What were the total numbers of voters this midterm election?"
MANSFIELD -- One of the most important things both major parties begged Richland County residents to do this election was vote.
"We need a strong representation," Vice President Mike Pence said at a rally at Lahm Airport wing on Oct. 31. "Talk to your family, invite 10 people and bring them with you to the polls."
Ohio Democratic Senator Sherrod Brown issued similar requests of his Democratic populous when he stumped for the Democratic ticket on Oct. 30.
"You have to find five people and teach them, educate them and mentor them. Then take them to the Richland County Board of Elections before Tuesday's election," the 65-year-old Mansfield Senior graduate said.
According to statistics from the Richland County Board of Elections, it seems their pleas were heard.
The Board of Elections counted 44,500 votes on Election Day, according to Director Paulette Hankins. There were 7,432 voters who voted early in the office and 7,330 who voted early by mail.
"We received 3,300 new registrations during the period between the August special election and the deadline for the November election this year, which was Oct. 9," she said. "We've got provisionals -- late (absentee votes) but eligible. We may get up close to 54 percent."
With a 53.57 percent turnout, Hankins said this election was the highest turnout rate for a gubernatorial race since 2010, where John Kasich defeated the incumbent governor, Ted Strickland. That election saw a turnout of 48.18 percent.
This was considerably higher than the 2014 gubernatorial race, which Hankins said pitted Kasich against Democrat Ed Fitzgerald, whose campaign fizzled out towards Election Day.
"This (2018 race) was where we thought it would be," she said. "We expected (a turnout of) around 58 to 60 percent due to early voting."
With 83,076 total registered voters in Richland County, Hankins said she was happy to see more than half come out to share their voice.
"The greater number of voters we have, gives (stronger) voices to our democracy," she said. "From an individual's standpoint, we put as much effort into it if 10 percent vote or if 90 percent vote. So we're glad when we have more people."