Ohio election protection group sees annoyances, but no major issues
LAS VEGAS – NOVEMBER 2: San Francisco, California attorney Paul More answers voter?s questions at the Stupak Community Center polling place on November 2, 2004 in Las Vegas, Nevada. More is one of more than 400 lawyers who have come the Nevada with the non-partisan election observation group “Election Protection” to look for voter intimidation and fraud. Polls indicate the race between U.S. President George W. Bush and Democratic presidential nominee U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) is too close to call. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)
Election protection groups say Tuesday’s in-person voting went smoothly, save for a few incidents of “heckling” and one instance where technical difficulties caused long waits at the polls.
Other than a few “weird circumstances,” as Common Cause Ohio executive director Catherine Turcer called them, Ohioans were able to vote confidently if they chose to do it live today.
“Things are plugging along, it does look like people are enthusiastically voting today and going to the polls,” Turcer said on a Tuesday afternoon press call.
She and members of the Ohio Voters Rights Coalition said the Regina Coeli polling location in Toledo was reporting a priest checking voter IDs, where poll workers were dispatched to deal with the situation, and a man taking photos of voters outside polling locations in Summit County.
Better signage was a need in some locations to lead voters to entrances, and isolated incidents of ripped up signs were reported, according to Camille Wimbish, of the coalition. None of the issues caused major problems, and were able to be resolved either through the intervention of polling place employees, or the use of non-partisan “peacekeepers,” sent out as a part of the election protection.
With only four machines available at the Friendship Park location in Toledo, lines were long and waits stretched on to an hour or more, and the Maranatha Church location in Columbus was seeing 45-minute long lines Tuesday afternoon, but the voters coming through were ready to go, an encouragement for election advocates.
“Voters are educated and voters know what they’re supposed to be bringing in,” said Kayla Griffin, of All Voting is Local.
Jen Miller, head of the Ohio chapter of the League of Women Voters, said those keeping an eye on the elections in case voters had questions or concerns were also in direct communication with county boards of elections, and were working with state Secretary of State Frank LaRose to resolve voter issues and questions.
Turcer said many of the questions voters had weren’t nefarious, but curious.
“We have had questions about what is allowed, where is the free speech zone… generally speaking, the poll workers, location managers came out and said ‘hey you need to move into the free speech zone,” Turcer said.
In a tweet Tuesday evening, the Ohio Secretary of State communications team did confirm a report “of an individual carrying a firearm outside” of an Ohio polling location, but law enforcement said the person was “adhering to Ohio law.”
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