Mixed signals for Dems in critical Ohio county

Democrats in deep blue parts of Ohio's critical Cuyahoga County are not nearly as excited about Hillary Clinton as they were about Barack Obama four years ago.

Requests for early ballots by Democrats in the county have plummeted 35%, compared to this time in 2012, while Republican requests have risen 3%.

The increased Republican interest is somewhat surprising when put into local context: there were 20 Cuyahoga County precincts where not one vote was cast for Mitt Romney in 2012, and there were 16 precincts in the county where zero ballots were cast for John McCain in 2008.

Seeing a "0" next to the GOP nominee's name may raise eyebrows, but experts say it can be easily explained when demographic information is reviewed. The area is just extremely Democratic - and that's why despite a clear enthusiasm gap, the trend may continue.

"It wouldn't be surprising there would be some [precincts] where Donald Trump doesn't get any votes," Cleveland State University associate professor of Political Communication Edward Horowitz tells FOX News.

"However, it does play into the narrative that his campaign has been using, which is: the campaign is going to be rigged," Horowitz added.

On top of that, now concerned Trump supporters won't even be allowed to see if their side is being shut out in certain places due to voter fraud.

This is because election officials are warning that any self-appointed election monitors caught interfering with voters in the county could face stiff consequences.

The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald said this week that he's been contacted by "a few" Trump supporters either asking to be election monitors or advising that the campaign has ordered them to serve in that capacity.

But McDonald says they will not be allowed into any polling locations in this northeast Ohio county.

"They are not official observers.  The state law only allows certain people to be observers," McDonald said this week.

Meanwhile, authorities are prepared to quickly respond to any issues that pop up at polling places, and the Cuyahoga County Sheriff's Department says its Impact Unit will be standing by.The Impact Unit is a community policing unit that was also on standby during this summer's RNC Convention in the county's biggest city, Cleveland.

Cuyahoga County Sherriff Cliff Pinkney tells FOX News he does not anticipate any major issues at polling places on Election Day, and that the department's main concern at this point is crowd control at polling places with massive turnouts.