Voting Goes Mostly Smooth in Cuyahoga County

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CLEVELAND — The Cuyahoga County Elections Board conducted another mostly smooth election that was free of any major problems.

There were a few problems that included some scanners that wouldn’t read slightly torn ballots, and some issues getting enough provisional ballot envelopes to a few precincts that needed them.

But neither problem stopped any votes from being cast.

“Every regular vote that was cast today will be counted,” said Elections Board Director Jane Platten.

She added that some so-called “provisional ballots” are always thrown out because they don’t meet the requirements.

Those are ballots cast by people who may have changed their name or address – but didn’t notify the elections board.

Earlier in the day Tuesday, several voters reported problems with processing completed ballots into scanners.

At an afternoon news briefing, Jane Platten, the Director of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections, explained a perforation issue was to blame.

Some ballots were slightly torn by poll workers as they attempted to remove the ballots from the packs.

Because of the tearing, the ballots wouldn’t feed into the machine.

After some troubleshooting, it was determined that the scanners would accept the torn ballots if they were turned around, so the problem ballots were fed that way.

No one was turned away and the voting process was not interrupted by the scanner jams.

The ballots that were not able to be fed into the machine during the initial problem will be counted.

They were put into a secure, back-up ballot box.  Throughout the day, a democrat and republican poll worker will work together to feed the remaining ballots into the machines.

It was not known how many voters were affected by the scanner problem.

The BOE said Cuyahoga County voter turnout was expected to meet or exceed 2008 figures.

Read about national voting snags here …

Also at the news briefing, Platten cleared up any confusion on the type of writing instrument that may be used to darken the ovals on the ballot.

Blue or black ink may be used.  A pencil will also work, but it is not preferred. 

Though there have been lines at some Cuyahoga County polling locations, they were well-managed and people were patient, Platten said.  There were no indications that voters experienced extremely long waits.

The official count that includes provisional ballots will not be tallied until the end of November.

In 2008, roughly 29,000 provisional ballots were cast in Cuyahoga County, and about 7,400 were thrown out.

Rely on Fox 8 News and FOX8.com for election updates.