Heavy early, absentee voting leads to (relatively) quiet Election Day

By: and - November 3, 2020 6:19 pm

Voters line up at Gender Road Christian Church on Tuesday.
Photo by Susan Tebben

A glitch with electronic polling books led to morning lines at Franklin County polling places, but by late afternoon, things seemed to be running smoothly across the board.

Around 11 a.m. on a beautiful fall morning at the Schiller Park polling place in German Village, Brent Beatty had finished voting just as a line of about 20 diminished to almost nothing. He said he was voting on Election Day after running into massive lines to vote early at the Franklin County Board of Elections on Morse Road.

Beatty said he had voted a straight Democratic ticket as a reaction against President Donald Trump and a Republican Party that Beatty believes enabled him.

“Trump has left the country in a big mess,” he said, adding that he believed that Biden would unite the country.

At Gender Christian Church in Canal Winchester, lines moved quickly in the morning while elections officials announced that check-in was being done manually because of technological issues.

One Nepalese woman had just become an American citizen and was exercising her right to vote for the first time. Another woman said when the Franklin County Board of Elections sent erroneous ballots to about 50,000 voters, it made her nervous to vote any other way but in person.

Ohio House Rep. Richard Brown, D-Canal Winchester, wore a “Re-Elect Richard Brown” mask as he stood with his wife just outside the polling lines, handing out cards and answering questions from constituents. He said that in travelling the district, it was clear voter interest is up, and the tradition of in-person voting is still there.

“I know from past experience, there are just a lot of folks who prefer to vote on Election Day,” Brown said.

Brown said Gender Christian Church seemed to be doing well with a large volume of voters.

“It’s the largest (polling location) in my district, and one of the larger ones in Franklin County, so the fact that there’s not a line speaks very highly of the folks that are operating this particular location,” he said.

Around 4 p.m. at Hoffman Trails Elementary School in Hilliard, poll workers said the site had been busy early in the morning. By that point voters were trickling in and out.

As she emerged, Louise Vaselakes, 79, said she identifies as an independent and often splits her ticket. This year, however, the retired nurse said she was turned off by Trump’s divisiveness.

“I feel the Biden will unite us,” she said.

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Marty Schladen
Marty Schladen

Marty Schladen has been a reporter for decades, working in Indiana, Texas and other places before returning to his native Ohio to work at The Columbus Dispatch in 2017. He's won state and national journalism awards for investigations into utility regulation, public corruption, the environment, prescription drug spending and other matters.

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Susan Tebben
Susan Tebben

Susan Tebben is an award-winning journalist with a decade of experience covering Ohio news, including courts and crime, Appalachian social issues, government, education, diversity and culture. She has worked for The Newark Advocate, The Glasgow Daily Times, The Athens Messenger, and WOUB Public Media. She has also had work featured on National Public Radio.

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