Few voting issues arise across Ohio


By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman - Ohio News Connection



COLUMBUS — While there were some hiccups, voting-rights groups say overall the 2020 election in Ohio went relatively smoothly.

Kayla Griffin, Ohio director of All Voting Is Local, said advocates worked tirelessly for months to prepare for the general election, and ensure a safe and secure process during the pandemic.

She noted one area that could have been better managed was facilitation of curbside voting.

“A lot of people were told that they couldn’t curbside or we’re told they still had to come inside, stand in line in order to get a ballot, and that really defeats the purpose of curbside,” Griffin maintained. “Which is not new to Ohio, it’s been around for years, and we told them that it was going to be an uptick.”

Griffin noted that with the use of technology, glitches can always be expected, which was an issue in Franklin County.

When the electronic registration went down, poll workers had to use backup paper poll books instead.

Unofficial results show about 5.8 million Ohioans voted in the 2020 general election, breaking the record set in 2008.

Griffin added there were a few instances of intimidation.

However, the organization had about 130 clergy and social workers trained in nonviolent action at the polls to respond to problems.

“We just had little pockets of trouble but we had an amazing team in our peacekeepers who we were able to deploy out into the field, and they were excellent,” Griffin stated. “They were able to help voters along. They were able to calm situations when necessary. “

Griffin said advocates worked well with Board of Elections officials throughout Ohio and the Secretary of State’s Office to ensure voters had fair access to the ballot.

“In this game there’s no permanent friends, no permanent enemies, just permanent interests,” Griffin concluded. “And so we want to see common-sense measures taken for voters, and this election cycle there has been some contention.”

All Voting Is Local is among the organizations that sided with Secretary of State Frank LaRose on the issue of prepaid postage on absentee ballots, which was rejected by a state legislative board.

However, advocates fought LaRose’s attempt to limit counties to one absentee-ballot dropbox location.

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By Mary Schuermann Kuhlman

Ohio News Connection