Electronic poll books automatically recording ballot stub numbers again, Cuyahoga BOE says

Voting Laws Ohio
Posted at 7:45 AM, May 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-03 19:59:35-04

CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections says all electronic poll books are now able to automatically record ballot stub numbers, a spokesperson said in an update shortly after issuing a statement about a malfunction that affected polling locations across the county.

A spokesperson for the Ohio Secretary of State said the office is aware of check-in issues at polling locations in Cuyahoga and Lucas counties.

News 5's John Kosich spoke to Frank LaRose Tuesday about the ballot scanning issues. Some voters turned to social media early Tuesday to say they were turned away at their polling locations.

"It should absolutely not have happened," LaRose said. "If that happened, and again a lot of things fly around on social media that may or may not be accurate, but if that happened, then you have a poll worker that either misspoke or was not paying attention in their training or both. Voters are never turned away from a polling location, that's something that we simply do not permit."

When asked if there is any reason to believe the issues that are happening in Cuyahoga or Lucas counties are anything more than an Election Day anomaly, LaRose said no and blamed it on the compressed timeline of poll worker training. That timeline was compressed because of the state's ongoing redistricting chaos.

"Oh gosh no, no, what happened is, quite honestly, and this was something that we were warning about early on because of the compressed timeline related to this election, the boards of elections had to do really three or four months of work and they only had less than two months to do it in," LaRose said. "They were working weekends and evenings, they were bringing in extra temp staff and when things get rushed, when compressed time lines are required by all of the litigation that we saw with redistricting, these are the kinds of things that can happen."

Earlier in the morning, a poll worker told News 5 Cleveland that poll workers were having trouble with machines. A News 5 employee voting in Cuyahoga County witnessed these difficulties firsthand.

Mike West, a spokesperson for the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, released the following statement when the issue was first recognized:

“When voters are issued ballots the poll workers record the stub number.

The Electronic Poll Books that are used to scan and record ballot stub numbers are not automatically recording the stub numbers. This does not affect the ability of voters to cast ballots.

Poll workers are entering the stub numbers into the Electronic Poll Books manually or recording the stub numbers on back-up paper poll books.

The Board of Elections is working on the issue and wants to thank voters for their patience. Again, this does not affect the ability of voters to cast ballots.”

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