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CLEVELAND (WJW) – Enthusiasm for early voting continued on Monday as hundreds took advantage of nice weather and the holiday to make their way downtown.

Long lines of cars created congestion along Chester Avenue to I-90 as voters also turned out in large numbers to drop off their absentee ballots.

“We are seeing a great deal of enthusiasm,” said Mike West, the Manager of the Board of Elections Outreach Department. “We have had more voters come and vote early in person than we did the last time we had a presidential election, so there’s a lot of energy and passion for voting.”

To help ease some of the congestion, the Board of Elections is providing one additional drop box on the neighboring property of the Campus International High School starting at 8 a.m. Tuesday.

It will be in addition to the current curbside drop box on East 30th Street.

Both will be available during early voting hours, which vary week-to-week through Nov. 2.

The county is still fighting a legal battle with the state over the desire to put additional drop boxes at six libraries throughout its jurisdiction.

“That seems to change almost on a daily basis, so we are kind of doing a wait and see attitude to see whether we have additional drop boxes,” West said. “But right now its for the courts and the lawmakers in Columbus to decide.”

The crowds did not seem to deter away on Monday, although some voters who were there to submit their absentee ballots decided to park where they could and walk their ballots to the Board of Elections rather than fight traffic.

“We tried to drive up, but the line was absolutely crazy. We started to go home and circled back around, parked, and we are now walking them in,” said Denise Gunn of South Euclid.

“We are only five days into voting so far, seven days so far, and so people are still just getting their ballots and so I think if this is any indication, it’s only going to get more,” said judicial candidate Lisa Forbes.

“You know we have been doing early voting for many years very successfully,” West said. “So it runs like a well-oiled machine and people are generally very happy we have been blessed with good weather so far during early voting so we hope that keeps up.”

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