Ohio Voters Heading to Polls in Droves Today
No major problems experienced in five Northeast Ohio counties; expect lines at some polling locations.
Ohio voters are heading to the polls today in droves under sunny, blue skies and there are essentially no Election Day problems being reported in five Ohio counties that are home to Patch websites.
Jeanette Mullane, deputy director of the Stark County Board of Elections, said all 160 polling locations in the county opened on time this morning and have seen a steady stream of electors.
“It’s been consistent voting all morning, which is what’s expected during a presidential election year,” she said.
Stark County’s touch-screen voting machines are all operational and ready for use, said Mullane. But even if some weren’t, it wouldn’t be an issue for long.
“Sometimes the machines get paper jams or other things that can be taken care of by our Election Day technicians. They troubleshoot all day long and are available to respond to any problems that may occur,” she explained.
Mullane issued a reminder that Ohio polls close at 7:30 p.m. today. “Anyone in line at 7:30 is permitted to vote. If they show up at 7:32, it’s too late,” she said.
Faith Lyon, director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said voting is strong and that she’s happy about today’s sunny skies.
“I think we’re looking really good. If the phone calls are any indication we’re going to have a great voter turnout today,” Lyon said. “When the weather conditions are good, folks aren’t afraid to get out and vote.”
She said all of Portage County’s 131 polling locations opened on time this morning and have not been experiencing problems with their touch-screen voting machines.
For an optimum election experience, Lyon suggested that voters know their ward and precinct before heading out to vote. That information is available on board of elections websites throughout the state.
Once voters arrive at their polling location, they should have their identification ready to present and be prepared to vote.
“If they’re not familiar with what’s on the ballot they can take look at a copy of the actual ballot – available at each polling location – beforehand so when they head into the voting booth they have an idea in their minds as to how they’re going to vote,” Lyon explained.
She also issued a reminder that voters statewide who requested and received an absentee ballot but didn’t return it before today cannot vote at their designated polling location.
Instead, Lyon said, “They need to fill (the absentee ballot) in and must return it in person to the board of elections office today or vote a provisional, or paper, ballot at their usual polling location.”
Mike West, media and voter education specialist at the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, said he’s heard of lines at some of the county’s 423 polling locations, “but not excessive lines.”
“We did an unofficial turnout survey from some locations chosen at random. Our in-house numbers have turnout at about 13 percent so far today,” West said. “Our website has an election profile (that) shows statistics from the last presidential election in November 2008,” when voter turnout was 61 percent.
All county polling locations opened on time today and none have experienced any major problems with their paper optical scan ballots.
“We’ve heard that there’s some (machines) that have jammed, but we get those repaired rapidly. Also, voting isn’t interrupted because of the scan. Voters can still cast a ballot a put it in a ballot box,” West said.
Voter turnout has been running high this morning in Lorain County, according to Board of Elections Director Paul Adams.
“Our early voting for both mail and in office has been much higher (than usual),” Adams said. “I have received a number of reports of large turnout in some places in the county. There are some places where people are taking a little bit longer time to vote, particularly Elyria because of the large number of charter issues on the ballot.”
All 78 Lorain County polling locations opened on time this morning and have not experienced any major problems with their touch-screen voting systems.
Scott Daisher, director of the Lake County Board of Elections, said there’s been a “very steady” stream of voters this morning, comparable to the 2008 presidential election, and that he doesn’t think the weather plays a role.
“In this type of election it wouldn’t matter what the weather was,” he said.
Workers in Lake County’s 80 polling locations serving 157 precincts all showed up and were open for business by 7:30 this morning.
The only touch-screen voting machine problem Daisher is aware of was quickly resolved. “We had one (machine) that fell, but it was put back up on its legs and is running again,” he explained.
"It's as busy as I've ever seen it on Election Day," said Summit County Board of Election Presiding Judge John Ross at Cuyahoga Falls' Quirk Cultural Center early Tuesday morning.
Neither Joseph Masich, director of the Summit County Board of Elections, nor Kimberly Zurz, deputy director, have returned repeated calls for comment this morning.