CLEVELAND - Early voting in Ohio in this contentious Presidential election starts Wednesday.
And Janice Lascko from Cleveland, a veteran who served in the Navy and Marines, already knows she will be the first in-person voter tomorrow morning at the Board of Elections.
Janice won an essay contest held by the board about why she'd like the honor.
"There's a need to set an example especially for younger voters...to make sure they get out," she said. "This is important."
Cuyahoga County Elections Board Director Pat McDonald said 100 regular staffers and 300 temporary workers are prepared.
"I'm ready for it," he said. "This is our Super Bowl...we've been preparing for this for months."
McDonald discussed extraordinary security measures being taken protect the election process in a climate of concern about possible hacking.
McDonald says the county's IT security team is carefully monitoring systems looking for signs of suspicious activity.
The voter registration system and network is protected with hardware and software firewalls that are being closely watched for signs of suspicious and unauthorized activity.
There have been none so far. And none are expected.
The registration data base is backed up at a secure offsite location.
The tabulation system is not connected to the internet or any outside system.
A back-up tabulation system is in place at board headquarters in case of problems at the warehouse where results are counted on election night.
New security cameras have been installed at all board operations locations.
Additional monitoring detection tools are being implemented in the net two weeks.
McDonald is predicting a turnout of from 68-70 percent, very close to the turnout turnout four years ago.
There are presently 884,000 registered Cuyahoga County voters. He predicts 600,000 will vote.
The breakdown he envisions:
- 350,000 voting on election day
- 205,000 early by mail
- 45,000 in person early
McDonald says early voting, by mail or in person, benefits both voters and the BOE.
"It takes away pressure at the polls," he said. "It alleviates the lines and makes for a more pleasurable experience for voters when there's not chaos at voting locations."
The election board will be open until 9 p.m. Tuesday to register voters.
Applications postmarked by midnight will get voters signed up for November..
McDonald said early voting during the week will be less crowded.
A calendar of early voting days and hours is available on the board's website.
Wednesday morning, 180,000 ballots will be mailed out.
Meantime, Janice Lascko says she will be at the Board Wednesday at "Zero Dark Thirty" or 7:30 tomorrow morning to cast her ballot when the doors open at 8 am.
"This is important, " she said.
And for the record, she's voting for Hillary Clinton.