Clerical confusion, false voter intimidation complaints in Summit County on Election Day

Poll observers use a statewide database to investigate complaints
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Posted at 5:12 PM, Nov 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-03 19:44:56-05

SUMMIT COUNTY, Ohio — On Election Day 2020, News 5 visited several polling locations in Summit County.

According to elections officials and poll observer volunteers, the primary confusion in the county originated from where to vote, because 10 former polling sites were consolidated with other locations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nancy Holland, an experienced poll observer, said voters who formerly cast their ballots at senior centers were forced to find a new location this year.

“Very mild confusion because a couple of polling locations have been moved over to join another existing location,” Holland said.

However, Kameron Rubin said he had issues casting his vote because of his home address.

“I told her I just moved like around the corner,” Rubin said. “This is the only place I’ve known to go to vote.”

Holland said clerical issues like this have been common in this election cycle.

“Somebody may have thought that they registered an address change only to find out in fact that that address change didn’t make it through,” Holland said.

Rubin said instead, he was given a provisional ballot to cast his vote.

“They’re going to send it off and make sure my address… make sure it’s not somebody trying to scam the election or something like that,” Rubin said.

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A poster explaining how voters who requested an absentee ballot can cast a provisional ballot if voting in-person on Election Day.

Holland and other poll observers use a statewide database to investigate and handle issues, confusion and complaints about possible voter intimidation.

“Behavior which, even if it’s across the street from a voting location, necessarily and understandably could have the effect on voters of feeling intimidated, fearful,” Holland said.

A particular instance of alleged voter intimidation was reported early Tuesday morning at Copley High School, but Summit County Board of Elections officials told News 5 that complaint was determined to be false.

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Outside a polling location in Summit County. An instance of voter intimidation was reported in the county, but election officials said it was false.

Holland said those complaints are typically handled on-site within minutes.

“My understanding was that it was not a real report,” Holland said. “We of course keep a steady eye on anything that suggests there may be an issue.”