October 20, 2014

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Experts: Early vote will relieve pressure

COLUMBUS — Elections experts say if you don’t want to get stuck in line in next year’s presidential election, don’t wait until Election Day to vote.

Memories of 2004 linger, when thousands of voters endured waits of hours — as many as 12 in some cases — to vote at understaffed, under-equipped polling places. Changes since that election should ease the burden on polling places and voters, but a huge turnout could add to the pressure. Turnout in 2004 was 72 percent, the highest in 12 years.

The Legislature in 2006 made absentee ballots available to all voters, not just the elderly, people out of the country or in some other special circumstance. While absentee voting spiked in last year’s statewide election, its true impact will be measured next year.

Recruitment of poll workers also has intensified, Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner says. Last year, the average age of an Ohio poll worker was 72. Brunner’s office included recruiting letters with graduates’ high school diplomas this year, but the response has been tepid, she said. So she’s encouraging early voting as well.

 

 

“We’re covering it from a lot of different fronts because there’s not one silver bullet that will solve the issue of poll workers,” Brunner said.