Empty building with Voting Rules sign

All is quiet in Franklin County, Ohio so far

The big news is that the electronic pollbooks in Franklin County, Ohio (Columbus) provided by the vendor KnowInk crashed due to problems uploading data overnight, according to the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Thankfully all polling places had back-up paper pollbooks when I voted this morning. I was checked in the old-fashioned way.

There was some concern that paper sign-in would be slower, but due to record early voting the lines were nonexistent at the Near East side inner-city Ward 55 at mid-morning.

Election integrity activists, including myself, generally favor paper pollbooks over electronic “black box” pollbooks. For one, it is much easier to match your signature with a pen and paper than with a stylus, which might cause a challenge by election workers. Electronic pollbooks are easily hackable, can be programmed with incorrect information that only shows up Election Day, and often go down at inopportune times – like today.

A voter reported that at the Copley High School polling site around 7:15am, a person in a “Blue Lives Matter” mask was “threatening people if they vote for Biden” according to an incident report on See Say 2020, an interactive site where voters post their election-related troubles. Copley, Ohio is in northeast Ohio near Akron.

There are no other signs so far of Ohio right-wing militias, Bikers for Trump or the notorious RWDS (Right Wing Death Squad) at the polls today.

Some threats occurred in October as posted on the See Say site, corresponding with the start of early voting, and all in northeastern Ohio:

·      “Voters without masks and prominent Trump paraphernalia [were] bullying poll workers to allow them into line,” in Medina, Ohio on October 9.

·      An individual “blocked the line and yelled at us to take a sample Republican ballot. Talked loudly about Trump to his friend while they harassed each person that came to the line to take a Republican ballot,” in Ravenna, Ohio on October 15.

·      A person in Tallmadge, Ohio received a text that encouraged MAGA supporters to confront people and prevent them from voting. It was “literally telling people to interfere and obstruct polling locations,” and included a screenshot, on October 29.

Election Protection activist Pete Johnson monitored the Franklin County Early Voting site throughout October and although there were long lines, there were no incidents to report. As of mid-morning Election Day, Johnson said that when polls opened there were long lines at neighborhood sites in Columbus’ Northland and Driving Park areas, but everything was quiet. A voter on Columbus’ West Side experienced a smooth voting experience today.

Earlier in the month, Franklin County 55,000 absentee voters, including my father-in-law, received the wrong ballot in the mail. He lives in the 12th Congressional District, but received a ballot for the 3rd District. This mistake aided incumbent U.S. Representative Troy Balderson (R), who two years ago won a tightly contested election if Democratic voters used the incorrect ballot.

The Board acknowledged the mistake, blaming it on the vendor, and mailed everyone the correct ballot – whether the voter requested it or not. The Board claimed that if they received two ballots from the same person only the correct one would be counted.

Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose ruled that Ohio counties would have only one drop-off box for all absentee ballots. The worry that mail-in ballots will not arrive in time or be counted is still a big concern.

Early voting numbers in Ohio were very high: 3.4 million.

Polls will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. today. If you have any issues voting today, please contact the Free Press at 614-374-2380.