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Paper ballots go largely unused


Out of 19,000.

Less than one percent.

That's how many Delaware county voters asked for a paper ballot. The county, like all others, was ordered by the Secretary of State to print enough ballots to accommodate 10 percent of all registered voters. County elections director Janet Brenneman says that placed a huge burden on her county.

"It was very expensive and very confusing for the poll workers, especially in a primary where you have multible ballots," Brenneman says. "Then if you have a school district that just compounds every one of those ballot styles."

Licking county reports similar results. Voters used 204 of the 16,000 available paper ballots. Board of Elections director Jay Morrow says he was leery of the directive from the beginning.

"The scary thing for our board was how many people are going to do it, Morrow says. It was kind of like reaching out into thin air, but we thought we would have enough ballots."

Franklin County handed out the most paper ballots, 810. But only because they printed substantially more. Board of Elections spokesperson Ben Piscatelli.

"Of the 300,000 people who voted, 810 chose to use a paper ballot."

Statewide costs for the paper ballots remains unclear. Piscatelli estimates it costs Frank

The Ohio Association of Election Officials earlier this year voted unanimously to oppose the paper ballot directive. Secretary Brunner was criticized while announcing the directive at the Election Officials annual conference in Columbus. Secretary spokesperson Patrick Gallaway admits the paper ballot directive was not ideal, but says it did help voters in several counties.

"You do one thing and you're criticized for that, or you do it the opposite and you might not be criticized, or vise versa," Gallaway says. "At first everyone was squaking about providing them, but the other side of the coin is, if you don't have them, what do you do?"

Gallaway says no matter the costs, requiring paper ballots at all precincts was necessary to ensure voter confidence. While there were plenty of complaints when the directive was issued, he says there would have been plenty more if precincts were forced to turn voters away.