The presidents, both current and prior, have told you how to vote. So have the vice presidents, current and prior — not to mention Ohio-born celebrities ranging from John Legend to Bernie Kosar to Martin Sheen.

Now it’s your turn, Ohioans.

With close races throughout the ballot, what you decide today on Election Day will determine what you pay in taxes, who’s in charge of counting your vote, whether further abortion restrictions are approved or vetoed, how your schools get funded, who serves as the financial watchdog over your local government, whether penalties for drug possession are decreased — and perhaps which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives.

Interest in absentee balloting has exploded this year, already 56 percent above the final total for 2014 and 28 percent above the total for 2010, Secretary of State Jon Husted reported Monday. Still to be counted this year are absentee ballots postmarked by Monday that arrive within 10 days after the election.

Join the conversation at Facebook.com/dispatchpolitics and connect with us on Twitter @OhioPoliticsNow

The future also is on the ballot today, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Richard Cordray likes to say. Republican candidate Mike DeWine often says what's at stake is “whether we go back or whether we go forward.”

The entire Democratic statewide ticket, except for Sen. Sherrod Brown of Cleveland, gathered for an election-eve rally attended by 200 cheering Democrats at a Columbus firefighters hall for what attorney general candidate Steve Dettelbach called "the eve of change."

Cordray called for the election of Democrats to put "people on notice and the country on notice for 2020."

As for the Republican candidate, DeWine got an election eve boost Monday when President Donald Trump came to Ohio and offered up a trio of political goodies: effusive praise, condemnation of his opponent and a few minutes at the microphone before cheering thousands at the I-X Center in south Cleveland.

“Mike DeWine is going to be a great governor, and Richard Cordray is a bad person who will do a terrible job,” Trump said.

In fact, Trump almost spent more time hyperbolically pounding Cordray than praising DeWine.

"I know his opponent. He’s a disaster. He’s a bad guy, not a good person. He’s hurt a lot of people. What he’s done to people is a disgrace," Trump said, apparently referring to Cordray's tenure heading the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“He’s a far-left radical socialist” who will not only plunge Ohio into poverty but will "destroy" the state, Trump said.

In an email to supporters, Cordray challenged the "empty name-calling" and "fact-free" accusations from Cleveland.

"Let’s send a message tomorrow to all of America that putting Ohio’s workers first, and elevating their interests above the corporate special interests, is not 'radical' or 'socialist' — It’s the right thing to do. I wear their criticism as a badge of honor," Cordray said.

Cordray also tweeted that DeWine would be a "lapdog" governor to Trump.

During his talk in Cleveland, DeWine, employing the same dubious claim he's made in campaign ads, linked Cordray to former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and the 300,000-plus Ohio jobs lost during the Great Recession. Cordray was attorney general during the final two years of Strickland's administration.

In response, Cordray later said sarcastially: "Ted and I had magical superpowers, and 10 years ago, we broke the entire American economy."

In his appearance in Cleveland, Trump at one point remarked, “In a sense, I am on the ticket” in today's election.

"There is an electricity like people have not seen" since he was elected in 2016 — a few days after a rally in the same location, Trump said. “What we’ve done is the greatest political movement of all time.”

The day before, DeWine was asked whether Trump's appearance would be a net gain for his candidacy since he must appeal to voters beyond the GOP base to win.

"I think it’s going help the campaign, but, look, ultimately people are going to vote for Mike DeWine or Richard Cordray," DeWine said.

Jane Timken, chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, said, "The president's visit energizes our base and gets our voters out, and it's a closing argument that our economy is booming in Ohio and it's because of Republican policies."

Trump chose Ohio for a rally not only because of the importance of Tuesday's vote, but also because he wants to ensure the nation's top bellwether state has a Republican governor and secretary of state when he seeks another term in 2020, Timken said.

During a gathering in a Whitehall union hall a couple of hours before Trump took the stage in Cleveland, Democratic Sen. Brown agreed that the president's Ohio visit held great significance.

"I think it signifies they are afraid and they want to change the topic," Brown said. "They want to change the subject away from health care and away from people's lives to issues that don't affect us directly."

Democrats are trying to take advantage of voter concerns about health care by emphasizing how Republicans such as DeWine tried to repeal Obamacare, which mandates insurance coverage of pre-existing medical conditions and allows states to expand Medicaid, as Ohio has.

Cordray told union members at United Food and Commercial Workers Local No. 1059, "We need to step into the future and not allow them to drag us back. Ohio is getting it."

Lee Saunders, a Cleveland native and president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, joined Cordray and Brown in rallying union members.

"This is the most important election in our lifetime," he said, roaring. "Do all you can ... we are sick and tired of people trying to take our rights away."

The Ohio AFL-CIO unveiled new estimates indicating that roughly half of the union households that voted for Trump two years ago now say they are voting for Cordray and Brown. The numbers are based on union canvassers’ conversations with 15,283 union households that identified as Trump supporters. Ohio AFL-CIO President Tim Burga said union members are energized for Tuesday's election more than any time in recent memory.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper said polling showed "basically we're tied with a day to go. We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity in our grasp."

drowland@dispatch.com

@darreldrowland

rludlow@dispatch.com

@RandyLudlow