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Your Voice Ohio is a collaborative effort to produce more relevant, powerful journalism based on the needs and ambitions of Ohioans and Ohio communities. Your Voice Ohio is an initiative of WYSO and more than 30 news organizations across Ohio.

Some Higher Risk Voters Casting Ballots In Person Over Concerns About Contentious Vote Count

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With early voting underway statewide, the Dayton area is on track to see a record number of votes cast. And many Miami Valley polling sites are already seeing long lines compared to the last presidential election.

Despite her age group being extra high-risk for serious illness from COVID-19, 72-year-old retired West Carrollton teacher Sue Kallmeyer, who has a family member that contracted and recovered from the virus, voted in person in Montgomery County.

Kallmeyer says the polling place felt safer than she expected it might.

“People were wearing a mask just like they were supposed to and there were no people intimidating others that I heard at all," she says, "and it was like this excitement inside, like, oh, this is so great, we are all doing this together -- separately but together, you know?”

Kallmeyer says voting always brings her joy. She's urging her friends and family, regardless of political affiliation, to vote in person if they feel comfortable doing so to help avoid a drawn-out vote count in November.

Ohio reports more than eight million voter registrations this year -- more than in any year since 2008.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.