Report: Franklin County switches to paper pollbooks after technical problems

By: - November 3, 2020 8:43 am

Franklin County made the decision to switch to paper pollbooks to check voters in overnight after a technical issue prevented the electronic pollbooks typically used from being properly updated, the Columbus Dispatch is reporting.

From the Dispatch’s Rick Rouan:

An updated electronic file containing data about who voted early was too large — a product of an unprecedented level of early voting in Franklin County — and could not be synced with the electronic poll books, said Ed Leonard, director of the Franklin County Board of Elections. …

That data is needed to ensure that voters who already cast ballots would not be allowed to cast another one, he said. Data is uploaded to the electronic poll books weeks in advance, but a last-minute update always is needed to account for the most recent data.

The switch to paper pollbooks for check-in will add a little bit of time to the voting process, officials said. The Dispatch reported that at the close of early voting, 350,982 people had cast early votes in Franklin County, either in person or via returned mail-in ballots. The county has about 833,000 registered voters.

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David DeWitt
David DeWitt

OCJ Editor-in-Chief David DeWitt has more than 15 years experience covering Ohio government, politics and policy, including education, health care, crime and courts, poverty, state and local government, business, labor, energy, environment, and social issues. He has worked for the National Journal, The New York Observer, The Athens NEWS, and He holds a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism and is a board member of the E.W. Scripps Society of Alumni and Friends. He can be found on Twitter @DC_DeWitt.