MJ and I voted today in the 2016 Election. Obviously, since there are 19 days to go before the November 8 Election Day, we voted by mail. For four years before this spring’s primary, I worked as a poll worker in Brecksville. The Cuyahoga County Election Board encouraged poll workers to vote by mail, and as a result, I learned the advantages: you don’t have to wait in line (in 2012 at my polling place, waits of a half hour were common), and you also can study the ballot at your leisure and make sure that you are voting the right way for officials and issues.
Several weeks ago, I requested our mail ballots on the website of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections–after confirming that we were registered. I simply entered last name and the date of birth for each of us.
The ballots were mailed out on October 12 as mandated by Ohio law. I got mine two days later and MJ’s arrived after three days. Over the past weekend, I researched the recommendations for the various judgeships that were on the ballot for Cuyahoga County and the State of Ohio. There also was an election for the state school board to be studied. Local issues are pretty straight forward.
As far as the national, state, and county elections are concerned, we pretty much voted for Democrats, which included Hillary Clinton and Tom Kaine for president and vice president.
Until recently, I maintained an independent status, and I was considered an independent when I served as a poll worker. Our four-person poll worker teams consisted of one or two representatives of each party along with me as an independent, depending on the election. Certain functions could be performed only by two registered voters with each party represented.
A year ago, the “Party of No” (Republican) finally got to me, and I voted in the Democrat primary, making me a registered Democrat.
Donald Trump, in his failing campaign as the Republican presidential candidate, is claiming that the system is rigged; that it will be rife with fraudulent voting. Based on my experience as a poll worker, and being exposed to the procedures that the Cuyahoga Board of Elections follows to 1) register and track voters, 2) check them in at the polling place, and 3) collect and count the ballots, I can say that Donald doesn’t know what he is talking about–at least in Ohio. First of all, you have to bring proof of your identity to the polling place. Beginning with this first step it is impossible for somebody to vote more than once as each voter is checked against a poll book compiled for the specific election. Then every voted ballot is entered into a sealed voting machine for counting by optical scanning. The paper ballot is collected by the machine as backup if a recount is needed. The machine count and the ballots are then turned over to the Election Board where they are added to the county vote totals. There are many checks and balances in this system, which is in place across the state of Ohio. There might be some voter fraud in other jurisdictions across the country, but not in Ohio.
In closing, the Board of Election tracks our ballots from request through to counting. We received text messages that they were mailed, and the website also indicated that they were mailed. In a couple of days, I expect to be notified that our ballots were received and submitted for counting.