Efforts To Ease Voting Change Meaning Of 'Election Day'

States across the country are trying to make it easier for people to vote with early voting stations and easy mail-in ballots. But for some, Election Day is still a bit like the Super Bowl or Thanksgiving — a day when Americans come together. And some voters in Ohio say they prefer plain-old going to the polls.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

On this Election Day in America, many people have already voted. A lot of states now allow an absentee ballot with no excuse needed, or you can show up early at voting stations to avoid the Election Day crowds. NPR's Noah Adams talked with voters in Ohio about their preferences.

NOAH ADAMS: Sunday, after church. That was the time to go to the polls for many people in Dayton. They drive to a government building downtown near the interstate. It's early voting at Montgomery County's Board of Elections. Waverly Howard came directly from church - the morning service.

Ms. WAVERLY HOWARD: Just got out and had an enjoyable time, and we was reminded to get out and vote at our church.

ADAMS: From another Dayton church, Pastor Jack Horn arrived, bringing three of his congregation.�They wanted to vote early.�Reverend Horn said he would wait and do it his regular way at the regular place.

Pastor JACK HORN: Because I just like the excitement of voting at the polls on Election Day - the aura, whatever. And then I have a 102-year-old aunt, and it would be closer for her than coming down here.�

ADAMS: So she sees people she's been seeing for decades?

Pastor HORN: Right.

ADAMS: There was a big voter turnout Saturday morning, at the election office for Greene County, out on the edge of�Xenia. Judy Gobble had a day full of appointments�coming up Tuesday, so she voted early and figures she's not missing much.

Ms. JUDY GOBBLE: I guess there is something to be said for the hubbub of being in the voting thing on the day, but, you know, you can catch it all on the news at night so you can feel it then.

ADAMS: Judy's husband Bob Gobble came along to vote, reluctantly.�He'd rather vote at his home polling station and Tuesday is the day for that.

Mr. BOB GOBBLE: Because, like, to me that's the most patriotic thing and that's when everybody goes. So, I'm ultra patriotic.

ADAMS: I talked with a woman in Xenia who can't vote on Election Day, because she's a poll worker - 5:30 am to 10 pm at another precinct. Cathy Bryan voted here instead and does notice among early voters a sense of community and responsibility.

Ms. CATHY BRYAN: All these people care enough to come down. Even though they may not be able to vote on Election Day, they're taking time to come and do this - make a special effort, go farther from their home to vote. So it makes you feel good.

ADAMS: Before sunrise at Dino's Cappuccinos in Yellow Springs, John Neff sits at a table with his regular coffee friends. Neff is insistent.�Voting is properly done at one's precinct. He's retired and doesn't have schedule problems. But he always shows up to vote first thing in the morning, especially to see neighbors who otherwise would be strangers.

Mr. JOHN NEFF: I see people that I only see there.�It's a civic duty. It's something - I've always voted. Very often, just voting against a bunch of people.

Mr. LIAM MCCLEAN: I'm Super Monkey.�

Mr. JASON MCCLEAN: Super Monkey's not scared of anything.

ADAMS: The nearby town of Fairborn, Ohio is a Halloween shopping destination -stores and ghoulish mayhem up and down the main street. Jason McClean has brought his young son Liam. McClean, perhaps distracted by Halloween, has not found�time to get to his county elections board. He'll have to be a day-of voter.� ��

Mr. MCCLEAN: I prefer that they do it somehow, you know, so that people didn't even have to go the polls somehow, you know. And people could vote from home through their computer or, you know, somehow where they could get more people involved.

ADAMS: Early voting is fast gaining favor.�And in Dayton, you had about three weeks to vote. It is possible to speculate here, that in years to come, Halloween retains its single date status, but Election Day becomes Election Season.

Noah Adams, NPR News.

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