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Letters From Home: "There Was A Kind Of Happy, Festive Atmosphere That Day"

Jane Leiby with her dog and "I Voted" sticker.
Jane Leiby
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Jane Leiby voted on the first day that the early voting polls opened.

WOSU's Letters from Home collects stories about our day-to-day lives during the era of COVID-19. This week, Ohioans share their voting experiences, from visiting the polls in person to casting their ballots absentee.

Jane Leiby from Columbus

My experiences was great. I voted early in person on day one. Line moved quickly and it felt wonderful to do it. There was kind of a happy, festive atmosphere that day.

Katie Bauer from Westerville

One word: Bad. 

I requested an absentee ballot as soon as possible. Then, I received my ballot and confirmed it was the correct ballot after issues. I returned my ballot to my county drop box. After I returned my ballot, I was included in the list of votes that had been sent an incorrect ballot.

I thought there would be no issue for up ticket vote until I read a third article on the issue and learned that my original vote would not be counted until the 11th day after the election. I received, filled out, and returned my replacement ballot the same day.

Error or not, the lack of clear communication is astounding. Not many people have the time to wait and vote early. I tried my best to plan ahead and still had to jump through hoops left and right.

Chris Buirley from Galloway

My experience has been positive. Previously, I'd always voted at my neighborhood polling location on election day, however this year I chose to vote early/absentee. I got my ballot requested in August, but soon thereafter I needed to move. This impacted the ballot precinct I should use, so I decided to physically go to the Franklin County Board of Elections yesterday (10/15) to ensure there were no issues and confirm I used the proper ballot.

The line wrapped around the building and was a bit intimidating, but consistent with what I've seen others say, it did move swiftly. I was pleased that aside from a few people handing out sample ballots I didn't see any hecklers bothering/pressuring voters while we waited or anything like that. Throughout most of the line folks weren't really keeping social distancing until we got closer to the entrance where poll-workers were reminding us to, but all were wearing masks.

Overall my time there from when I parked till when I left was about an hour. If I hadn't needed to deal with my address change/getting a corrected ballot, and filling out a paper ballot, it would have been faster, but even then, this was not a long wait. When my process was completed, it was very satisfying when I scanned my ballot into the computer/receptacle and the screen told me that my vote had been counted. I plan to continue voting early as a result of my experiences this time, and I commend our poll workers and Franklin County Board of Elections for maintaining and executing such a smooth process, especially during such a critical election which has had so many obstacles for so many.

Anonymous from Canal Winchester

I handed my absentee ballot to the election office clerk in person. There was only one person in front of me. I did not have to worry about using the machines in proximity to others, or any issues with the drop box. Super easy and quick! Good job, Fairfield County.

Erin Whitman from Pickerington

My husband and I early voted on Monday the 12th. We had both kids in tow (a one-year-old and a five-year-old). Fairfield elections office was busy, but very efficient. We were in and out in 15 mins! So glad we could in person vote early and be sure out vote is counted.

Franklin County voters wear masks as they cast their ballots at the Board of Elections headquarters on Morse Road.
Credit Debbie Holmes / WOSU
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WOSU

This week, Letters From Home is continuing to ask the question: How has your voting experience been?

Answer this question using the form below, and try to keep below 1,000 words. Your response may be edited for length and clarity.

WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.
WOSU brings you Letters from Home in partnership with the Columbus Museum of Art.