July 23, 2016

Mostly clear

Board of Elections’ Office open an extra hour due to long lines

MEDINA TWP. — Voters hoping to avoid long lines on Election Day were greeted by a line that snaked around the Medina County Board of Elections building Sunday.

“I thought it might be more convenient,” Anita Zervopoulos, 43, of Montville Township. “Now, I’m not so sure.”

At 2:30 p.m. Sunday at the Medina County Board of Elections, about 150 people waited in line to vote early. Some waited in line for about an hour. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY KIERA MANION-FISCHER)

Zervopoulos, who said she supported Romney because of his pro-life views, was one of about 150 people waiting in line about 2:30 p.m.

Medina County Board of Elections director Carol Lawler said the crowds were heavy all weekend.

Lawler said the board office stayed open an extra hour on Saturday to accommodate 781 early voters and an extra half hour on Sunday, when 564 showed up between the scheduled hours of 1 to 5 p.m.

As on Election Day, everyone standing in line when the polls closed was permitted to vote, she said.

“We were prepared for a lot of people,” Lawler said. “We had several terminals to check them in, extra workers.”

So far — with only one day remaining for early voting — 13,713 Medina County voters have cast early ballots — 2,344 more than the total number who voted early in person during the 2008 presidential election.

Early voting in Ohio was allowed on the last weekend and Monday before the election thanks to an Oct. 16 decision by the U.S. Supreme Court that let stand a lower court ruling striking down a state law that cut off voting.

The ruling followed a court battle between Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Democrats, who sued over a state law that had prohibited weekend voting in the last weekend before the election.

Lawler said on Sunday there were four terminals open and several people working as greeters, answering questions from the people in line.

Lisette Roman, 41, of Wadsworth, said she didn’t mind waiting in line.

“Regardless of where you are in politics, it’s your responsibility to get out there and do your part,” she said. Roman said she planned to vote for President Barack Obama, mainly because of health care reform.

Ben Schell, 32, of Liverpool Township, another Obama supporter, said he was voting early because he would be a poll worker on Election Day.

“I’m quite surprised at the line,” he said.

Kristin Puch, 29, of Brunswick, who stood in line about an hour to cast a ballot, complimented the poll workers. “They did a good job,” she said.

John Richmond, 48, of Wadsworth, a Romney supporter, was upbeat about the wait.

“Hey, it’s not raining,” he said.

Contact Kiera Manion-Fischer at (330) 721-4049 or kfischer@medina-gazette.com.