Northeast Ohio Readies for Election Day
by Nick Castele
Poll workers across Northeast Ohio are preparing for hundreds of thousands of voters to cast ballots this Election Day.
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald said county sheriffs and local law enforcements will be ready to respond to potential problems at polling places, if needed.
McDonald said he expects about 350 to 400 Democrats and 250 to 300 Republicans to serve as election observers—about the same as four years ago, he said.
They’ve been trained and credentialed, he said, but are not allowed to challenge votes or talk with voters. McDonald says only those already approved as observers can watch the polls.
“Self-appointed observers are not allowed near the voters,” McDonald said. “It is that simple. We will not tolerate anybody that is not credentialed to come into the voting location. Anyone who tries to observe, loiter, or pester voters will be ejected and the police will be called.”
Polling places are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Election Day, and McDonald says voters can drop off completed absentee ballots at their boards of elections until 7:30 Tuesday night.
The board of elections is expecting a slight dip in voter turnout this year compared with 2012.
McDonald estimates that 67 percent of registered voters will cast ballots in this election—but with the good weather, he said, that could grow.
“There’s also a chance of a last-minute voter surge on Election Day,” he said. “Especially if the trend from early voting this past weekend continues through tomorrow, turnout could potentially match 2012 outcome of 70 percent turnout.”
McDonald mentioned the elimination this year of Golden Week, in which people could register and vote in the same week, as a possible reason for the lower numbers.
He estimated that vote totals for the county may come in about 8.5 percent lower than four years ago.