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Saturday, October 25, 2014
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Published: Saturday, 10/30/2004

Most voters will use familiar balloting devices

BY FRITZ WENZEL
BLADE POLITICAL WRITER

For voters in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan, Tuesday's election will, for the most part, be a familiar experience.

Six counties, including Lucas, will be using optical-scan machinery, but that equipment has been deployed in those counties for at least three elections. Most counties in the region will be using their old punch-card voting systems.

But there will be a few new factors confronting voters.

First, there will be more people at the polls than one might expect. Both political parties have recruited hundreds of elections challengers and witnesses to observe activity.

When Lucas County voters head to the polls on Election Day, they will encounter high-tech optical-scan voting machines that have been used in several recent elections.

Polls in Ohio open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m. Polls in Michigan are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Paula Hicks-Hudson, director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said each election seems to run just a little smoother as voters become more comfortable with the machines and poll workers understand how to operate them.

When voters arrive at their voting location, they will be asked to sign in at the precinct poll book. Those who are new registrants and who have not already provided identification to voting officials should bring some form of identification, such as a driver's license number, the last four digits of a Social Security number, or some other form of identification that links the voter to his or her address, such as a utility bill.

Newly registered voters then will be given an optical-scan ballot, which includes candidates and issues on both the front and back of the ballot. Voters are to fill in the ovals next to the candidates names and issues they select, using either a black or blue ink pen or a pencil. Each polling place should have sufficient numbers of pencils.

Once the voter has made selections, the ballot is placed into an electronic optical scanner, which sits atop a large, locked box. Once the ballot passes through the scanner, it drops down into the locked box, where it will remain until polls close.

If the voter has inserted the ballot improperly into the scanner, or if there are other problems with the ballot, the scanner will kick it back out, giving the voter has a second chance to correct any mistakes. If this happens repeatedly, poll workers are trained to help the voter, said Ms. Hicks-Hudson. Voters should ask a poll worker for help if they have any concerns.

Voters in Wood, Fulton, Henry, Defiance, Williams, Putnam, and Seneca counties will use their old punch-card voting systems, while Lucas Ottawa, Sandusky, and Erie counties in Ohio and Monroe and Lenawee counties in Michigan will employ optical-scan equipment. Seven counties in Ohio will use touch-screen electronic voting machines. Auglaize County, just south of Allen County, is the only one in northwest Ohio.

Contact Fritz Wenzel at:

fritz@theblade.com

or 419-724-6134.



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