Memo to the the “voter disenfranchisement in Ohio” crowd:
Delays at polls weren’t a scheme
But a Plain Dealer analysis shows that, in Cuyahoga County at least, the elections board distributed machines equally to city and suburban polling locations.
The long lines at some locations appear to be more the result of timing, new voters and overwhelmed poll workers, not necessarily a shortage of machines.
Before the Nov. 2 election, the elections board allotted each Cleveland precinct one machine for every 117 registered voters within its boundaries – the same ratio of machines that suburban precincts received.
In other words, the more registered voters a particular precinct had, the more machines it received, regardless of where that precinct was.
And in the end, the busiest precincts – when measured by the number of ballots cast per machine – were actually in the suburbs, not Cleveland, according to a Plain Dealer analysis of records from the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections.
and there’s more:
Long lines did form at some of Cuyahoga’s 584 polling loca tions. And those on Cleveland’s East Side – where problems were most anticipated – received the most attention from politicians, voter groups and reporters on the lookout for glitches.
The lines formed for a number of reasons: waves of new voters; inexperienced or overwhelmed poll workers; a crush of voters during peak hours; and general confusion at larger polling sites that host multiple precincts.
Michael Vu (Democrat), director of the Cuyahoga elections board, admits his office needs to improve some of its “process and procedures,” but he said election workers and voters “should applaud themselves” for how Election Day unfolded.
One of the moves the board may study is better preparation for peak voting times. Unlike restaurants, which schedule staff size to accommodate their busiest hours, the elections board did not assign additional staff or machines specifically for peak times.
Each precinct had four poll workers, typically two Democrats and two Republicans. The board added a fifth poll worker to precincts it believed would be busy. Also, each polling location had an inspector to help direct voters.
Still, Vu said predicting exactly where and when a surge of voters will appear is akin to “picking winning lottery numbers.”
As it does in every election, the Cuyahoga board set up six offices across the county from which extra machines could be delivered quickly to crowded polling locations.
So can we put this whole thing to rest already?