Without Polling Sites, Election Day In Montgomery County 'Surreal'
Today’s almost all mail-in primary election has created a lot of unusual changes for county election boards across the state. Ohioans with disabilities and those without a home mailing address are still permitted to vote in-person. Voters who requested an absentee ballot by the deadline but did not receive it in the mail can also show up in person to request a provisional ballot.
As of this morning, Montgomery County had about 15,000 unreturned ballots. That made it hard to predict how many people would drop off their ballot or vote in person.
Leading up to the entrance of the Board of Elections are black Xs, spaced apart to mark where voters should stand while waiting, but this morning it was easy to maintain distance. Board of Elections Deputy Director Steve Harsman said only about 30 people had come to vote in-person by 10 a.m.
“It is kind of surreal being election day and we don't get calls from poll workers or polling locations,” he said. “But it could be a sign of the future, especially if this coronavirus doesn't go away. We want to make sure that we protect our poll workers and our voters as well.”
Outside the building at the ballot drop-box on West 3rd Street there was a bit more activity. Cars lined up along the curb and voters got out to drop off their ballots.
Curtis Griffin, a retired member of the Marine Corps, made the more than 20-minute drive from his home in Englewood. He put in his ballot request two weeks ago, but only received it in the mail yesterday.
“By the time I got it, post offices were closed, and I really didn’t want to trust it,” he said. “It’s been a bit stressful. I wanted to make sure I got my vote in, make sure it counted. I wish it were the normal, easier route, but as long as I get it in.”
Voters can continue to drop off their ballots until 7:30 p.m. today. The Board of Elections expects to have unofficial results by 8:30 p.m.