June 29, 2016

Partly sunny

It’s time to vote in Medina County, but where?

Know where to vote on Tuesday?

Don’t feel badly if you don’t. You’ve got plenty of company.

Medina County voters line up to cast an early ballot at the Medina County Board of Elections on Friday. Early voting continues 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday. (LOREN GENSON / GAZETTE)

More than 25,000 Medina County residents who were registered to vote in last November’s election have been assigned new polling places.

For most of those voters, it will be their first visit. While most of the changes were announced before the March primary, less than 30 percent of registered voters turned out for that election.

County elections officials say they’ve been getting calls from concerned voters as Election Day approaches.

Confusion about where to vote also may be driving up the numbers of early voters.

Today, 1,090 voters showed up at the board of elections office to cast their ballots. That brings the count of early voters to 12,368 — 3,606 more than all the early voters in the 2008 presidential election.

Early voting began Oct. 2 and continues for three more days.

Julie Humberson was one of those who came out to vote early Friday rather than wait until Election Day when she would have to go to the Community Center at Medina County Fairgrounds, which is the centralized polling place for 13 of Medina city’s precincts.

“I don’t want to have to wait in line,” Humberson said. “They have a bunch of precincts there.”

The new polling places aren’t spread equally among the county’s three cities, 17 townships and six villages. Voters in the Wadsworth, Medina and Brunswick areas are most likely to have been reassigned.

Nearly two-thirds of the voters in the city of Wadsworth and in Wadsworth Township have new polling places — a total of 10,954 voters.

In Medina, 6,338 voters — more than a third of all residents of the city who registered for last November’s election — have been assigned new polling locations.

In addition to the changes made after last November’s election, the board changed the polling places for 13 precincts after the March 6 primary election.

Why so many changes — especially in a presidential election year?

Money is one reason, according to county elections board Director Carol Gurney.

Most of the changes in polling places stem from the county’s decision to reduce the number of precincts from 151 last year to 117.

Gurney said each of the 34 precincts eliminated saves the county the cost of four poll workers needed on Election Day.

“They get paid $105 for the day, plus they get paid for their training and the training materials costs,” she said. “The goal that the board (of elections) gave us was to try and get as few precincts as possible that fit into the guidelines of what the secretary of state wants.”

Reducing the number of precincts means many of the remaining ones are larger.

The county now has more than a dozen precincts with more than that number of registered voters. The biggest is Medina’s Ward 2 Precinct A, with 1,865 registered voters.

Last November there were only three precincts in the county with more than 1,400 voters.

Gurney said the county meets state guidelines, which limit precincts to a maximum of 1,400 “active voters,” because not all registered voters turn out for elections.

In addition to reducing the number of precincts, the county also has consolidated polling places.

“That’s a trend we’re trying to move towards in the future, less polling locations with more than one precinct at a location,” Gurney said.

Two of the new polling places that will serve multiple precincts this year are Hope Church in Brunswick Hills Township and Northside Christian Church in Wadsworth.

Hope Church will host two precincts; Northside Christian will serve three.

Gurney said that in some cases the consolidated polling places should be less crowded for voters because they are larger facilities.

“When we looked at the facility at Northside Christian Church, we thought it was so nice,” she said. “We thought we could put some precincts from surrounding areas” that were too small for the number of voters they were trying to handle.

Gurney said some polling places were abandoned because the buildings had difficulty meeting federal accessibility requirements. Others, including some schools, were undergoing construction that made their parking lot inaccessible.

While consolidating locations saves the county money, some of those who came to the board of elections Friday said they feared long lines on Election Day.

“We thought we’d better not take a chance,” said Susan Steele, who came with her husband, George.

The couple live in Wadsworth’s Ward 1 Precinct B, which hasn’t changed its polling place, at the Masonic Temple on High Street.

Steele said they wanted to avoid the Election Day rush.

“George works late on Tuesday, so it’s a lot more convenient,” she said.

While election officials have been fielding more calls from confused voters, Gurney said the board hasn’t totaled the number of voters whose polling places have changed.

The numbers in this story and accompanying chart were compiled by The Gazette from board of elections records.

Where to vote on Tuesday

More than 25,000 Medina County voters will be going to different polling places than they did in last November’s election. Shown below in boldface are the precincts and number of registered voters in last year’s election who have been affected.

Voters can find out which precinct they live in and their assigned polling place by calling the Medina County Board of Elections at (330) 722-9278 or going to the Ohio secretary of state’s website, www.sos.state.oh.us/SOS/pollinglocation.aspx.

Ward 1
Precincts A and B —Kidder School, 3650 Grafton Road (701 voters)
Precincts C and D — Crestview School, 300 W. 130th St.
Precinct E — Towslee School, 3555 Center Road.
Ward 2
Precincts A, B and E — Applewood School, 3891 Applewood Drive.
Precincts C and D — Huntington School, 1931 Huntington Circle.
Ward 3
Precinct A, B and D — St. Ambrose School, 929 Pearl Road.
Precinct C — Kidder School, 3650 Grafton Road.
Precincts E and F — Memorial School, 3845 Magnolia Drive.
Ward 4
Precincts A and B — St. Ambrose School, 929 Pearl Road.
Precinct C — Brunswick City Hall, 4095 Center Road.
Precincts D and E — Hickory Ridge School, 4628 Hickory Ridge Drive.
Ward 1
Precincts A and D — Community Center, Fairgrounds, 735 Lafayette Road.
Precinct B — County Human Services Building, 246 Northland Drive.
Precinct C — Fire Station No. 1, 300 W. Reagan Parkway.
Ward 2
Precinct A and C — Medina Community Recreation Center, 855 Weymouth Road (678 voters).
Precinct B — County Human Services Building,
246 Northland Drive (561 voters).
Precinct D — Emeritus @ Camelot Place, North Jefferson and Reagan Parkway.
Ward 3
Precincts A, B, C and D — Community Center, fairgrounds, Lafayette Road entrance (2,421 voters).
Ward 4
Precincts A, C and D — Community Center, fairgrounds, Lafayette Road entrance (1,715 voters).
Precinct B — Emeritus at Medina, 100 High Point Drive (963 voters).
Ward 1
Precincts A and B — Masonic Temple, 660 High St.
Precincts C, D and E — Northside Christian Church, 7615 Ridge Road (2,402 voters).
Ward 2
Precinct A — Center for Older Adults, 138 High St. (495 voters).
Precinct B — Masonic Temple, 660 High St.
Precinct C — Wadsworth Public Library, 132 Broad St. (726 voters).
Precinct D — Church of the Nazarene, 743 High St. (1,037 voters).
Ward 3
Precinct A — Wadsworth City Hall, 120 Maple St.
Precinct B — Wadsworth Public Library, 132 High St. (744 voters).
Precinct C — Center for Older Adults, 138 High St. (1,281 voters).
Ward 4
Precinct A — Wadsworth City Hall, 120 Maple St. (538 voters).
Precinct B — Salvation Army, 527 College St.
Precinct C — Church of the Nazarene, High and Brouse streets (1,303 voters).
Brunswick Hills
Precincts A and F — Hope Church, 1905 Pearl Road (2,256 voters).
Precinct B — Brunswick Hills Township Fire Station No. 1, 1918 Pearl Road.
Precinct C, D and E — St. Emilians Byzantine Catholic Church, 1231 Substation Road.
Veterans Hall, 6299 Avon Lake Road.
Precincts A and B — Granger Fire Station, 3717 Ridge Road.
Precincts C and D — Granger Administration Building, 3717 Ridge Road.
Guilford Township Hall, 3800 Greenwich Road.
Harrisville Township Hall, 209 Railroad St., Lodi.
Precincts A, B, C and E — Our Savior Lutheran Church, 1605 Ridge Road (768 voters).
Precinct D — Hinckley Township Hall, 1410 Ridge Road.
Homer Community Center, 8946 Spencer Road.
Township Fire Station, 6776 Wedgewood Road.
Township Hall, 9256 Norwalk Road.
Liverpool Municipal Building, 6801 School St.
Precinct A — Weymouth Church, 3398 S. Weymouth Road.
Precincts B & G — Prince of Peace Lutheran Church, 3355 Medina Road (525 voters).
Precincts C and F — Medina County Health Department, 4800 Ledgewood Drive.
Precincts D and E — Living Word Lutheran Church, 3631 Hamilton Road.
Precincts A and B — Fox Meadows Clubhouse, 4260 Fox Meadows Drive.
Precincts C, D and F — Rustic Hills Country Club, 5399 River Styx Road (812 voters).
Precinct E — Montville Township Hall, 6665 Wadsworth Road.
Precinct G — First Christian Church, 4797 Sharon-Copley Road.
Precincts A and D — Northside Christian Church, 7615 Ridge Road (1,868 voters).
Precincts B and C — Maintenance Building, 6801 Ridge Road.
Spencer Township Hall, 112 N. Main St.
Precinct A — Bayberry Estates Clubhouse, Castle Haven at Arcadia (986 voters).
Precinct B — Ambassador Baptist Church, 620 Trease Road.
Precinct C — Northside Christian Church, 7615 Ridge Road (1,442 voters).
Westfield Town Hall, 6699 Buffham Road.
York Township Hall, 6609 Norwalk Road, (state Route 18 and Columbia Road).
Chippewa Lake
Church at the Lake, 7824 Lake Road.
Gloria Glens Park
Village Community Building, 468 Playland Parkway (at Lake Road).
Congregational Church, 114 Church St. (1,228).
Seville Presbyterian Church, 101 Center St.
Spencer Township Hall, 112 N. Main St.
Westfield Center
Westfield Municipal Building, 6701 Greenwich Road.

Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.
Contact David Knox at (330) 721-4065 or dknox@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.