Mostly smooth day of voting at area polling places

Polls closed on time after an Election Day marred with complaints about voter intimidation in other parts of the state but no major issues locally.

“It’s been a very, very smooth presidential election,” Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jan Kelly said Tuesday night.

There were minor mishaps, however.

Elections official Stephen Marcum was removed by sheriff’s deputies from a polling place at Thurgood Marshall High School in Dayton after he refused to follow directions.

“He was told to disconnect a grey cable wire from an electronic poll book so we could reserve memory on the e-poll books in case it got busy at the close of elections,” Kelly said, but he reportedly insisted that unplugging the cable would allow people to vote more than once.

>> RESULTS: Latest vote totals from Ohio

Marcum was not arrested, but “he will not ever work as a polling election official anywhere here in Montgomery County or in the state of Ohio,” Kelly said.

There were sporadic complaints throughout the day of voters having problems casting their ballots: machines malfunctioning, problems feeding the paper, and even several paper ballots handed out in Kettering that were missing a page.

The lights went out at a polling location in Lebanon, but voting continued using paper ballots.

A damaged voting machine delayed counting votes cast at the Mary L. Cook Library in Waynesville, but Warren County elections officials said the votes would be counted.

And Montgomery County officials said there were some reports of voters receiving calls and emails falsely claiming to be from the board of elections and telling people who had voted that their votes weren’t counted and they should vote again.

The morning was marked with lines sometimes lasting hours. But by day’s end, they had died down.

Mary Hinde said she waited maybe 10 minutes to vote at her polling place at Apex Community Church on Far Hills Avenue in Kettering.

“My husband was here at 10:30 and waited over an hour,” she said. “Everybody that was in there was great and everything went real smoothly.”

Lorrie Makofka said she wasn’t going to let work, rain or anything else stop her from voting.

“I knew I’d make it out one way or another,” she said. “I have voted in every election since Carter. I’m proud of that, that we have the freedom to do that here and it’s our freedom, our right and our responsibility.”

Voting rights groups reported several problems in Franklin County, including voters in a Somali neighborhood reportedly told there were no provisional ballots, and alleged harassment and verbal confrontations.

The Ohio Voter Rights Coalition said it received anecdotal reports of a higher demand for provisional ballots, which could be due to the 1 million infrequent voters who were purged from registration rolls being allowed to vote provisional ballots.

Election Protection released a report saying it received reports of voter intimidation and suppression in African American communities in Ohio.

“This includes intimidating signage, road closures and individuals being forced to vote provisionally,” the report said.

Early in the day, voters at area polls saw longer lines filled with people with their own motivations to vote.

“The presidential vote is a hot mess,” said Camisha Maze. But she wanted to vote in favor of Dayton’s income tax increase, Issue 9.

Larry Klaben, who voted at Wilkinson Plaza downtown this morning said it’s every citizen’s responsibility to vote.

“Every vote counts and it’s important that we take that right and that we make it valuable,” he said.

After casting his ballot, Klaben returned to help a blind man make his way into the polling place.

Gina Hendrix of Xenia was first in line at Xenia Grace Chapel Tuesday morning.

“I’m here to vote, it’s very important to be here, and I’m going to be here,” Hendrix said.

Staff Writer Katie Wedell contributed to this report.

X