MAPLE HEIGHTS, Ohio — A special election in Maple Heights Tuesday regarding a tax renewal gave voters and the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections a glimpse into how the polls will look on Election Day come November.
“This is our first opportunity in 2020 to have in-person voting at a polling location during the pandemic,” Anthony Perlatti said.
With just under 100 days until Election Day, elections officials are working to encourage voter participation while balancing the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic.
During Tuesday’s special election, polling booths were six feet apart and poll workers wore masks and shields, among other sanitization measures.
“We have our poll workers who we have outfitted with masks and shields. Every station has hand sanitizer,” Perlatti said. “We have finger cots that are rubber fingers that you can go ahead and sign the poll book. It keeps the sensitivity and captures the signature but keeps people from actually touching the device.”
With 300 polling locations but only one voting drop box in the county, Perlatti said state officials are considering creating more ballot drop boxes.
“Secretary of State LaRose has asked for a formal opinion from Attorney General Yost to see if there is the possibility of having multiple drop boxes within the county,” Perlatti said. “We would want to find locations that these boxes would be under security surveillance around the clock, so potentially some government locations like county and city libraries that have cameras.”
Ultimately, Perlatti is encouraging Ohioans to register for mail-in voting because of the unpredictability of the pandemic.
“This pandemic is unpredictable so we don’t know what it’s going to look like three months from now,” Perlatti said. “So you can start to engage in that voting from home process now by submitting an application.”
Volunteers with the Shaker League of Women Voters are getting creative with their approach to encourage voter participation by putting together hundreds of grab-and-go information packets at 30 different Little Free Libraries and food pantries in Shaker Heights.
“We provided just little plastic envelopes that are attached to all of these places,” Lynn Lilly said. “The libraries, the pantries, info stations where people could get a vote-by-mail application, a voter registration form and some tips on how to fill it out correctly.”
You can find more information about Little Free Libraries in Shaker Heights here.
For more mail-in voting resources, visit Vote 411.