Voters rush to beat voting deadline in Ohio primary election

Voters rush to beat voting deadline in Ohio primary election

CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Voters raced to drive-through ballot boxes throughout Ohio Tuesday to beat the 7:30 p.m. deadline to vote in the state’s primary election.

The mail-in primary was forced by the postponement of the March 17 election due to COVID-19.

All ballots needed to be postmarked by Monday, April 27.

Voters were allowed to drop off ballots at county Boards of Elections offices up until the deadline.

“You’ve gotta change with the times, man,” said Charles Davis after voting in Cuyahoga County.

Davis said the process, driving down East 30th Street in Cleveland before coming to a slow stop and handing the ballot off to an election official, was easy.

Others felt differently.

“This was just done in too short a notice. Over a month to have people get an application, turn it in, get their ballot and have it processed in order for them to vote. I know people who never got a notification or never got their ballot,” Shirley Fitzpatrick of East Cleveland said.

Fitzpatrick believes the late change disenfranchised voters.

“It is an easy process, but if you’ve never done it and have voted at the polls for decades, it’s just something new,” said Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Anthony Perlatti. “So I think that’s some of their frustration, not understanding voting is a two part process.”

Some voters complained that they got stuck with provisional ballots and had to wait in line to cast their ballots inside the Board of Elections building.

“I know a lot of people got shut out,” Perlatti told 19 News. “The whole process is unfair to those who really want to vote, they don’t have the opportunity to vote.”

Some voters complained that they got stuck with provisional ballots and had to wait in line to cast their ballots inside the Board of Elections building.

In-person voting was initially reserved for only certain exemptions, people with disabilities who require the use of special voting services and people who are unable to receive mail, such as the homeless.

On a conference call with reporters, Jen Miller, the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Ohio expressed concern over the complaints the organization had been hearing throughout the day.

“Confusion is the number one deterrent of electoral participation. This primary couldn’t possible be any more confusing or frustrating for voters,” Miller said.

Entering Tuesday, officials in Cuyahoga County said 215,398 ballots were requested, which equated to 22% of registered voters. Of those, 171,294 were returned.

About 17,000 ballots were expected to be delivered to the Board of Elections by the Post Office before the deadline.

It’s unclear how many voters dropped off their ballots on Tuesday, as ballots were being taken directly to a secure warehouse for counting after they were dropped off.

Initial results in Cuyahoga County aren’t expected until midnight or later.

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