by Tim Troglen | Reporter
Summit County voting officials are reviewing potential solutions to a variety of problems voters reported Nov. 6 at polling locations in Hudson and across the county.
Complaints included too few poll workers at sites, waiting in line for more than two hours to vote, broken ballot scanners and confusion over which precincts had been eliminated during a recent redistricting change.
"We had many complaints regarding the changing of polling locations and the waits that were created due to the larger sizes of the new precincts," Summit County Board of Elections Deputy Director Kimberly Zurz said Nov. 7.
The Summit County Board of Elections reduced precincts from 196 in March to 151 in November as a cost-saving measure. Hudson went from 23 polling locations to 13.
That led to more people than usual at polling spots across Summit County, where Secretary of State John Husted reports voter turnout was 71 percent, Zurz said.
"We tried to prepare for these situations as best we could," she added.
The board of elections is looking into the issues, according to Zurz.
"The board had some discussion about some of these issues already, and both the director and I are reviewing all of the concerns raised to us this election and will make recommendations to the board for their consideration," she said.
Zurz does not know what recommendations will be presented to the Board, or what the outcome will be, she said.
The board did appreciate hearing the concerns of the voters, she added.
"We appreciate the voters bringing their concerns to our attention to enable us to have better information when we plan for the next election cycle," Zurz said. "We want the voters of Summit County to have a positive experience whether it be at the polls, for early voting or absentee by mail."
VARIED EXPERIENCES IN STOW AND MUNROE FALLS
Voters in the two communities experienced varying situations while casting their ballots, sometimes at the same polling location, according to comments posted on the Stow Sentry's Facebook page.
One voter commented on a one hour wait at Silver Springs Lodge early in the day and called it a "smooth process as long as you know what line to be in." But another voter stated it took 35 minutes to vote after arrival and "It could have gone so much faster. The poll workers always seem unwilling to do anything all by themselves. Always takes at least 2 to look at the book, to determine the ballot number, etc. There were always empty voting booths while tons of people were standing in line."
At Silver Lake Towers, voters commented the process was quick. "Two people in front of me ... in and out ... completely painless," shared one voter.
Lakeview Intermediate School also received positive comments. "In and out in 15 [minutes] at Lakeview," said one voter. Another commented Lakeview had "no line, no wait and they still had stickers."
A third said "Lakeview school was perfect. Arrived at 4:10 and left ... at 4:25. Very smooth."
Experiences at the polls at Akron General Wellness Center varied. One voter noted his 4-C precinct's line was short, "whereas the 4-E folks had quite a bit of a wait it seemed. But I will say it was running very smoothly and all the booths were constantly filled. The volunteers were doing a great job. Thanks to them."
Another said there was "an hour wait this morning at Akron General Wellness ... I was in the long line and the ballot scanning machine was broken," but it was only a 15-minute wait for another voter.
Reports of 1 to 1 1/2 hour waits were reported at Kimpton Middle School in Munroe Falls in the morning. But by afternoon, one voter said there was only a "10-minute wait at Kimpton around 3 p.m."