Paper Ballot Convoy Assures No Slow-Down in Voting
Super Tuesday Number 2 has come and gone in Franklin County with minor problems reported at the polls. One had to do with the secretary of state's order to provide paper ballots to voters who ask.
Even with power outages at two polling places Tuesday morning, people could still cast ballots on the electronic voting machines because they have battery pack-ups. But problems cropped up Tuesday afternoon when poll workers started calling in to say they were running low on paper ballots and envelopes.
"Okay, so you need 64H ballot style, right?"
At first, warehouse crews were going to ship ballots out by taxi cab if they had to. But Dennis White, the new Franklin County elections director got the opinion of Jennifer Brunner.
"Hey Phil I just talked with the secretary of state," White said. "We can't use any outside transportation source. But she said under the statute the sheriff has to assist us in this."
White drove to the elections warehouse on Alum Creek Drive, where 10 deputies had also been sent. At the same time the elections center staff was assembling a caravan of cars, trucks and minivans.
"You've got to come back to the warehouse as fast as you can. We've got to have our crews back in here to deliver ballots and envelopes," said one dispatcher.
Adding paper ballots, White says, has made overseeing the voting process more complicated.
I think that as long as you have one uniform system instead of trying to mix the two systems. Here we have a situation where we're using two systems and you have an historic turnout and an unusual democratic primary. You could have the makings of a perfect storm."
The only storm occurred later Tuesday night when heavy rains spread across Columbus.
In the warehouse staff members were looking through piles and pallet loads of paper ballots printed to meet the precincts needs.
But as it turns out, only one polling place had completely run out of provisional ballots. That was at the Jesse Owens Center at Ohio State.
"There's a bigger demand for provisional balloting which requires that they use a paper ballot and it's put in a provisional envelope and then we have time after the election to make sure that voter is a qualified voter," White says.
White did his part.
He took a load of envelopes to Shady Lane Church on Livingston Avenue after the presiding judge said she needed more.
"I can't remember the last time I had something to eat. I think it was yesterday sometime," White said.
White was relieved that poll workers still had a few paper ballots on hand. And that the church was having a bake sale and free coffee in the fellowship hall.