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Voting During a Pandemic: How Power Outages Might Affect Election Day

Voters at polling location
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
The COVID-19 pandemic brings to voters' minds many questions about how the upcoming Election Day Nov. 3 will be handled. In light of the power outages that disrupted four Northeast Ohio counties in 2018, some might ask: "What would happen if the power goes out again?"

On Election Day two years ago, wind gusts knocked out power for at least part of the day in four Northeast Ohio counties. What happens if there are more power outages on Election Day this year when voter turnout is expected to be higher than usual?

In 2018, counties were able to move voters to areas within polling places where there was electricity and some had generators on hand. Paper ballots were used as a backup. But this year, with COVID voting in place, the protocols could be different.

Maggie Sheehan with Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s officesaid there isn’t one statewide plan for power outages. In an email, she said it was up to the 88 county boards of elections to come up with their own plans for how they’d handle an electrical outage on Election Day.  
Copyright 2020 The Statehouse News Bureau. To see more, visit The Statehouse News Bureau.

Jo Ingles
Jo Ingles is a professional journalist who covers politics and Ohio government for the Ohio Public Radio and Television for the Ohio Public Radio and Television Statehouse News Bureau. She reports on issues of importance to Ohioans including education, legislation, politics, and life and death issues such as capital punishment.