from Board of Elections
(Columbus) You might have to stand in line to vote early at the Board of Elections, but you won't have to stand outside. Franklin County has just expanded the board's office space at 1700 Morse Road in an attempt to prevent lines of voters from stretching outside the board's headquarters and into its parking lot during peak voting periods.
Eight thousand square feet from neighboring county property has been added to the 90,000 square feet already used for board of elections business throughout the year. The new space is large enough to a shelter a line of 1,200 voters at a time. Officials believe that should be enough room to accommodate the type of turnout from recent presidential election years when thousands more voted early all day on the busiest days just before the primary and general elections.
Other changes are being made to make lines move faster. Additional poll workers will greet arriving voters to ask for their name and address to identify voters who'll need to cast a provisional ballot because they haven't updated a change of name or address. Those voters will be immediately directed to another room to cast a paper ballot instead of waiting in line with others headed for voting machines.
"We're making these changes because we have the highest turnouts in central Ohio and early voting is so popular," Board of Elections Director Bill Anthony said. He noted that voting is heaviest in presidential elections. Nearly 69,000 voted early in-person during the 2012 general election with absentee ballots accounting for over 40 percent of all votes cast.
Deputy Director David Payne reminded voters that mail remains an early voting option and "a guarantee that you won't need to stand in line regardless of turnout."
Voters must request an absentee ballot to vote by mail in the primary. Applications are available on our website or by calling the board of elections at (614) 525-3100.