Some Franklin County voters left their polling places without voting this morning after confusion over which ballot to give them led to delays. The confusion has been cleared up, said Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections. “We’re urging them to come back and vote,” he said of those who left before they were given a ballot. Poll workers took contact information from voters who had signed in, but who said they had to leave before the confusion was cleared up. Workers were contacting those voters and telling them to return, said Dana Walch, deputy director of the Board of Elections. “We believe it was a small number of people who left without voting,” Walch said. In many cases, poll workers called the board’s hotline and had the situation resolved in a few minutes, he said.
The confusion stemmed from polling places that handle multiple precincts. In places where all of the precincts had the same candidates and issues on their ballot, Piscitelli said, ballots were issued for one precinct and were expected to be used for all of them. For example, the polling place for precinct A, B and C would have only ballots for precinct A because all three are the same. But poll workers looking for the B and C ballots could not find them, and didn’t know they were supposed to use the A ballot for all voters.
There are 110 polling places that have multiple precincts with identical ballots, Piscitelli said. “We ended up calling all of them and explaining it to them,” he said. “But we know some people left without voting.”