October 22, 2014

Elyria
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State Senate proposal could make voting faster

ELYRIA — Getting voters in and out of polling places quicker and more efficiently is at the heart of a state bill approved by the state Senate and now before the Ohio House.

The proposed changes in Senate Bill 109 are sound, according to Paul Adams, director of the Lorain County Board of Elections.

Approved by the Senate in May, the bill calls for exchanging numbers for letters as the way in which polling places process voters on election day.

“Instead of voters having to remember which precinct they are in, they simply walk up to the table that includes the letter of their last name,” Adams said.

Sign-in tables at polling places would be denoted by signs bearing a certain number of letters in the alphabet such as A to F, rather than the present system that identifies tables and poll workers by precincts such as 1-A, 1-B and 1-C.

“I believe this will allow for a quicker pace,” Adams said. “It will offer greater simplicity for voters who don’t have to hunt for the table where their precinct is.”

Another change proposed by the bill calls for replacing the multiple numbers of people who oversee individual precincts at each polling place with a single voting location manager.

“This person would be in charge of the entire location instead of the number of people who are currently in charge of each precinct (known as presiding judges) within a given polling place,” Adams said.

“As precincts get bigger, it makes sense to go with that model,” Adams said.

Lorain County has 78 polling locations.

Having one manager to handle questions and problems, or seek assistance from the Board of Elections during voting, would greatly streamline operations.

“This way, you wouldn’t have more than one person calling about the same issue from the same polling place,” Adams said.

“It creates uniformity among multiple locations while eliminating duplication of effort,” Adams said.

The bill also would allow Ohio Secretary of State John Husted to oversee testing and authorization of electronic poll books that also would help speed voting day registration.

Contact Steve Fogarty at 329-7146 or sfogarty@chroniclet.com.