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UPDATE: Five Summit polling sites run out of ballots (OH)
Akron Beacon Journal. November 3, 2009. By Katie Byard, Beacon Journal staff writer
Original: http://www.ohio.com/news/break_news/69002322.html

Polling places in at least five Summit County communities Green, Norton, Springfield, Tallmadge and Twinsburg, ran out of ballots Tuesday evening as voter turnout was much higher than expected.

Would-be voters said they left sites without voting, not knowing when additional ballots would be delivered.

Summit County Board of Elections officials acknowledged earlier today that the had apparently underestimated turnout. They had predicited that turnout could be as low as 20 percent.

Elections board member Wayne Jones said this evening that about 30 polling sites ran out of ballots for some period of time. These sites are among 100 that called the board office today saying they were running short.

Poll workers had been instructed to call the board office when they were down to 25 percent of their alloted ballots, Jones said.

Summit uses paper ballots, unlike Medina, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties, which use touch-screen comptuers.

Some Summit polling places remained open past the 7:30 p.m. closing time, waiting for additional ballots for those in line.

State law says that anyone in line at 7:30 p.m. must be permitted to vote. Some voters reportedly had been waiting two hours for ballots to arrive at First Baptist Church in Tallmadge.

Janet Feeman said she attempted to cast a ballot two times at Southeast Church of the Nazarene about 5:15 p.m. and again about an hour later. No ballots were on hand either time.

"It's sad when you get off work and you go to cast a vote and they are already out of ballots," she said.

Feeman, whose three children graduated from the city's public schools, was hoping her vote could help the district pass a levy for new operating money after six failed attempts in the past two years.

Renee Bartlow, who also wanted to vote for the school levy, said she left the polling place at Southeast Church of the Nazarene after 5 p.m. because she needed to get home to her family and did not know when ballots would arrive.

"I've been voting for 20 years and I've never heard of this," Bartlow said.

Kathi Kassinger, a voter at Schrop Intermediate School in Springfield Township, said that she had seen about a half-dozen people leave the polling place without voting around 6:45 p.m.

 

She said she planned to wait for more ballots. The polls closed at 7:30 p.m.

''I'm anxious,'' she said as she waited. ''We had have some big levies for the [Springfield] schools'' on the ballot. ''If people can't vote, how is that going to affect that?''

Kassinger said poll workers said they ran out between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

Springfield was trying to pass three renewal levies that together raise about $4.5 million a year about 18 percent of the district's annual operating budget.

Voters in Green reported that a polling place had been without ballots for about 15 minutes.

The Ohio Secretary of State's Office said this evening that at about 5 p.m. it authorized the Summit County Board of Elections office to photocopy dwinding ballots.

About 19,000 additional ballots were printed with the board's four ''ballot on demand printers,'' the Secretary of State's Office said.

Poll workers had been advised to call the board office when ballots were running low, the state said.

Areas asking for more ballots include Twinsburg, where there is a tax increase on the ballot, and Green, where there is a school issue, the office said.

This afternoon, Summit County election officials said voter turnout was higher than expected and they had to order additional ballots.

Officials had predicted an overall turnout of as low as 20 percent, including absentee ballots cast in the weeks before Election Day.

''It's heavier than we thought,'' Marijean Donofrio, head of the Summit County Board of Elections, said Tuesday afternoon. ''It'll be more than that.''

Workers were hurriedly trying to get ballots printed and get them out to several polling places that were running low, she said about 3 p.m.

''Issue 3 [the statewide issue on casinos] is bringing a lot of people out,'' she said. '''That's what the poll workers say.''

She theorized that pleasant weather also was playing a role. Also, she noted that several school districts were trying to pass school levies.

The hotly contested Barberton Municipal Court race could be attracting a lot of voters in the court district: Barberton, Clinton, Green, New Franklin, Norton, and Copley and Coventry townships.

In addition to Issue 3, the election features municipal and township trustee races, school board races and ballot issues.

Elections officials in Summit and other area counties reported no significant problems.

Lois Enlow, deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections, said workers scurried to get a Streetsboro polling place open on time after having to track down someone to unlock a door.

Fast-thinking poll workers ''even took their oaths outside in the cold,'' while waiting at the site at the Camelot Village mobile home park.

''We have resourceful people,'' Enlow said. ''They had their machines up by 6:30 a.m.,'' when voting begins, she said.

Heavily contested races were prompting Portage elections officials to predict an overall 40 percent turnout.

Nine candidates are vying to become Streetsboro mayor.

The Rootstown Township trustee race attracted 11 candidates for two seats.

Two municipal judicial races in Portage races also have been hotly contested.

Polling places in at least five Summit County communities Green, Norton, Springfield, Tallmadge and Twinsburg, ran out of ballots Tuesday evening as voter turnout was much higher than expected.

Would-be voters said they left sites without voting, not knowing when additional ballots would be delivered.

Summit County Board of Elections officials acknowledged earlier today that the had apparently underestimated turnout. They had predicited that turnout could be as low as 20 percent.

Elections board member Wayne Jones said this evening that about 30 polling sites ran out of ballots for some period of time. These sites are among 100 that called the board office today saying they were running short.

Poll workers had been instructed to call the board office when they were down to 25 percent of their alloted ballots, Jones said.

Summit uses paper ballots, unlike Medina, Portage, Stark and Wayne counties, which use touch-screen comptuers.

Some Summit polling places remained open past the 7:30 p.m. closing time, waiting for additional ballots for those in line.

State law says that anyone in line at 7:30 p.m. must be permitted to vote. Some voters reportedly had been waiting two hours for ballots to arrive at First Baptist Church in Tallmadge.

Janet Feeman said she attempted to cast a ballot two times at Southeast Church of the Nazarene about 5:15 p.m. and again about an hour later. No ballots were on hand either time.

"It's sad when you get off work and you go to cast a vote and they are already out of ballots," she said.

Feeman, whose three children graduated from the city's public schools, was hoping her vote could help the district pass a levy for new operating money after six failed attempts in the past two years.

Renee Bartlow, who also wanted to vote for the school levy, said she left the polling place at Southeast Church of the Nazarene after 5 p.m. because she needed to get home to her family and did not know when ballots would arrive.

"I've been voting for 20 years and I've never heard of this," Bartlow said.

Kathi Kassinger, a voter at Schrop Intermediate School in Springfield Township, said that she had seen about a half-dozen people leave the polling place without voting around 6:45 p.m.

She said she planned to wait for more ballots. The polls closed at 7:30 p.m.

''I'm anxious,'' she said as she waited. ''We had have some big levies for the [Springfield] schools'' on the ballot. ''If people can't vote, how is that going to affect that?''

Kassinger said poll workers said they ran out between 6 and 6:30 p.m.

Springfield was trying to pass three renewal levies that together raise about $4.5 million a year about 18 percent of the district's annual operating budget.

Voters in Green reported that a polling place had been without ballots for about 15 minutes.

The Ohio Secretary of State's Office said this evening that at about 5 p.m. it authorized the Summit County Board of Elections office to photocopy dwinding ballots.

About 19,000 additional ballots were printed with the board's four ''ballot on demand printers,'' the Secretary of State's Office said.

Poll workers had been advised to call the board office when ballots were running low, the state said.



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