While long lines for early in-person voting are plaguing poll locations around the country, residents in Delaware County have experienced no such issues thanks to the work of the Delaware County Board of Elections (BOE). Early voting began on Oct. 6 at the BOE office, located at 2079 U.S. Highway 23 N. in Delaware, and by most accounts, it’s been smooth sailing.
Karla Herron, director of the Delaware County BOE, said she wasn’t sure what to expect of an early voting turnout this year, pointing out that past elections have shown that early voting numbers often taper off in the weeks following the polls opening. However, that has not been the case this year, she said.
“It’s stayed steady every day,” Herron said. “Last Friday, which was the fourth day of voting, we voted 2,300 people. In prior elections, the most we had ever voted was approximately 1,500-1,600 in a day. As of today, we’ve voted 18,900 people. That’s more than we did in the entire month leading up to the 2016 Presidential Election.”
To manage the rising voter turnout, Herron said the BOE staffed an additional 40 people.
“They’ve been wonderful, willing to step up and volunteer their time,” Herron said of the staff. “We’ve had to employ additional seasonal staff. We put the word out and we have not had a shortage of people saying they’re looking to help if we need it. We’ve added to our payroll. We’ve been very fortunate that Delaware County folks are ready to help out, step forward, and volunteer to work. They’ve handled it very well.”
Herron said she believes her staff enjoys serving the public, which is leading to the positives experiences voters are applauding around the county, while also reflecting the voters who are showing up with a positive attitude.
“I think it’s been a really good experience for our staff here, as well as the voters,” Herron said. “Everyone has really had a great attitude, and I’m fortunate to work with this group of people. They are fantastic.”
In addition to simply adding additional poll workers, Herron said those workers have been cross-trained to allow them to assist on multiple fronts, which has served to strengthen the process.
Of course, the BOE has had to take added precautions to ensure the safety of both poll workers and voters given the pandemic. Herron said workers are all wearing masks, and both face shields and gloves are also available upon request. Each voting station has a sneeze guard installed as well, and there are spacing markers on the floor. Each station is being wiped down in between uses.
Herron added that she has yet to see a voter without a mask, and masks are available to be offered to voters if needed.
The BOE will be open for voting Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday from 1-5 p.m.
As for the deadline to cast absentee ballots, time is running thin. Herron said the BOE will stop sending out ballots at noon on Saturday, Oct. 31. Ballots can be hand-delivered to the BOE up until the polls close on Election Day. If they are mailed, ballots must be postmarked by Nov. 2.
The polls will open at 6:30 a.m. on Election Day and will remain open until 7:30 p.m. To learn more about the process, visit https://boardofelections.co.delaware.oh.us/.
Reach Dillon Davis at 740-413-0904. Follow him on Twitter @DillonDavis56.