Voter turnout excedes expectations, causes problems at some locations (OH)
Chronicle-Telegram. November 4, 2009. Brad Dicken
SHEFFIELD TWP. — Voter turnout Tuesday exceeded Lorain County Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario’s expectations.
Candelario had predicted between 35 and 40 percent of the county’s 203,555 registered voters would cast either absentee or show up at the county’s polling places to cast their ballots. The final number of ballots cast was 85,955, he said, a turnout of about 42.2 percent.
Of those ballots, 14,030 were absentee ballots cast by mail or in person at the elections board under early voting rules.
The high turnout led to some problems at some polling places, Candelario said.
“It was a tale of two cities,” he said. “Some places were good, others were bad.”
Elections board workers had set up 541 voting machines around the county, but seven polling places ended up needing more machines to keep up with voter demand, he said. That prompted elections workers to take another 18 machines out to those polling places to ease long lines, he said.
At one polling place in Avon, Candelario said, people were waiting as long as 45 minutes to cast their ballots. Similar problems occurred at other polling locations around the county, including in Grafton and Elyria, he said.
Candelario said the problem occurred because of the high turnout. The election board didn’t send out as many machines as it would in a presidential election because off-year elections typically have a lower turnout, he said.
Another problem, he said, was misprinted signature books that contained information from the 2008 election.
Throughout the county there were seven bad books, some containing only a few pages of old information. In other cases, an entire book contained outdated data, Candelario said.
How that happened, Candelario said, he doesn’t know, but the elections board will try to determine that today.
When there was a problem with a book, affected voters had to cast provisional ballots, Candelario said.
Including those voters, there are 1,248 provisional ballots that will need to be checked and those that are valid will be added to the official election results, which won’t be finalized for a few weeks.