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Long Lines At Greene County Polling Locations As Surge In Ohio Voter Turnout Continues On Election Day

Air Force software developer Tom Zopff and his son were among the Greene County voters who queued up in long lines outside polling sites to cast their ballots in person on Election Day.
Jess Mador
/
WYSO
Air Force software developer Tom Zopff and his son were among the Greene County voters who queued up in long lines outside polling sites to cast their ballots in person on Election Day.

Statewide polls opened at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and Ohio was already on track to continue its record breaking voter turnout. By Monday, the Ohio Secretary of State reported more than 3 million Ohioans had already voted early or absentee before Election Day itself, a number representing 60 percent of the total votes cast in the entire 2016 general election.

And, before dawn this morning as the moon still lit up the sky, Greene County voters queued up outside polling sites to cast their ballots in person on Election Day.

At a church in Fairborn, hundreds of people waited in a quiet line that stretched across a parking lot jammed with vehicles.

Bailey Pitcher, a 22-year-old Miami Valley ER nurse, arrived at 7 a.m. to vote for President Donald Trump. She says, despite the hour-long wait in the cold and wind, she’s glad she did it.

This was her first time voting in person.

“I'm from a really rural area in Illinois and there's never a line, so I knew there'd be a little bit of a line," she says. "But I think when I saw the line, I thought it'd be a lot longer of a wait and I was tempted to go home, but it was actually faster than I thought.”

Pitcher describes herself as, "just not huge into politics."

"With the pandemic, I mean, I don't really blame anybody for it. Like, no one knew how to handle a pandemic like this. And so I think economy wise, I'm on board with Trump and the way that he's handled our economy before," she says. "Shutting everything down wasn't great, but what could we do? And I'm pro-life, so voting on those issues is important to me as well."

Nearby, United States Air Force software developer Tom Zopff headed out of the polling location with his son.

Zopff says he’s been working from home during the pandemic and his more flexible schedule made it easier to vote at the machine this year.

“I just like to come and do it in person on Election Day. And especially with telecommuting these days, there's no reason for me not to go ahead and do it in person,” he says.

As for the nation's electoral system, Zopff says he hopes this year's huge voter turnout sparks change for the better when it comes to voter access and election security.

"I think it would be ideal if we could settle into a good process, a good system that was reliable and protected from any kind of corruption," he says.

Modernization could also help, he says, to allow every registered voter across the country to more easily participate in elections -- by mail or in person.