As voters go to the polls today, turnout in Delaware County is expected to be about average for an odd-year election, according to officials with the county Board of Elections.
Polls statewide will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Director Josh Pedaline said while the board of elections doesn’t release specific projections for voter turnout, he does believe the turnout will be higher than the 2013 election.
“In 2013, we had 24 percent turnout,” Pedaline said. “That was a countywide election, similar to what we’re dealing with this year. It might be slightly higher, but I really wouldn’t want to speculate on what that number would be. Delaware County voters generally turn out in very high numbers relative to the rest of the state. Our folks out there at the polls do a good job of getting (voters) in and out and making it a good experience.”
Pedaline said there are 124,080 registered voters in Delaware County.
Board of Elections Chairman Steve Cuckler said an odd-year election in Delaware County usually produces 20-25 percent voter turnout. He said it’s possible that tax issues for the Buckeye Valley Local School District and the Delaware Area Career Center, as well as the three statewide issues, could drive more voters to the polls.
“Typically, in a local, odd-year election, those are the types of issues that drive voters,” Cuckler said. “That usually is going to drive turnout in the Buckeye Valley School District. In Ostrander, Concord, Ashley, Radnor precincts, I would see probably a higher percentage in those areas in the Buckeye Valley School District.”
New technology will be introduced during this election, Pedaline said. Electronic poll books, known as “poll pads,” will be utilized for the first time by poll workers across Delaware County.
“They replace the old poll books,” Pedaline said. “It’s a way to increase accuracy and speed of checking people in. Now we can look you up by the first couple of letters of your name or utilize a magnetic stripe reader and swipe your (driver’s) license. We’re one of the first counties in the state to implement this type of poll book.”
The poll pads — Apple iPads — were obtained at a total cost of $325,000 from KnowInk Innovative Election Solutions. The St. Louis, Mo., company specializes in providing election software and technology. Pedaline said the county board of elections received a refund totaling $202,577.38 from the state to offset the cost to the county.
Cuckler said the reaction of poll workers to the new technology has been positive.
“We did pilot testing back in the spring,” he said. “We also looked at three other vendors and (KnowInk) was head and shoulders above any of the other competition. Our poll workers who actually used it during the pilot program were very excited and thought it was pretty user-friendly. They’ve been very excited about it, happy about it, and believe it’s going to be very helpful to them.”
Election day meals will be served at several locations around Delaware County. Grace Church, located at 7600 Liberty Road in Powell, will be serving meals all day. Galena United Methodist Church, located at 2777 Sunbury Road, will be serving meals from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.