Cuyahoga County printed extra ballots as voter turnout swelled

CLEVELAND – With some suburbs reporting voting levels close to numbers usually seen only in presidential elections, Cuyahoga County elections officials printed ballots on this Election Day and then sent them out to precincts.

Election Board Director Pat McDonald said ballots were taken to about 45 precincts in the county. No precinct ran out of ballots as voters were waiting.

More election results here

“We were able to triage the situation,” McDonald said.

In the 2006 and 2010 midterms, the voter turnout in Cuyahoga County was 44 percent. In 2014, that figure dropped to 40 percent.

On Election Day, McDonald revised his estimate for 2018 up to 55 percent. He said he believes, when all the votes are counted, it will be that high – or a little higher.

While happy that so many people decided to cast ballots, McDonald said it puts a strain on the board of elections.

“It’s always more difficult when more voters show up,” McDonald said.

That’s because election officials decide how many poll workers to hire and how many ballots to print based on previous trends. If too many poll workers are hired or ballots printed, it wastes money. But too few, and there could also be problems.

Fortunately, as the vote count was starting, McDonald said there had only been the “usual minor glitches” at the polls.

He did add that, because the law requires that everyone in line at 7:30 p.m. be given the chance to vote, some precincts were open till close to 8 p.m.

McDonald said he believes most ballots will be counted by 11 p.m., but that all ballots may not be counted till midnight or 1 a.m.

Continuing coverage of You Decide 2018 here

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