Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bomb scare, power outage stalls vote temporarily in Lake County

Posted by Michael Scott and John Caniglia March 04, 2008 11:17AM

Categories: At the polls

It's been hardly an ordinary primary day so far for Lake County Elections Director Jan Clair -- who has encountered a power failure and a bomb threat already.

Clair said that around 9:30 a.m., she was rushed by police escort to Madison Middle School, where the polls had been abandoned after an anonymous bomb threat was phoned in.

"Fortunately, once they took dogs and the bomb squad through building, voting resumed around 10:55 a.m.," Clair said. "No voter was disenfranchised. Our poll workers took down names and phone numbers of those who showed up and couldn't vote, but each one said they would be able to return to vote later."

She said a power failure in North Perry, possibly due to ice accumulation on power lines, briefly stalled voting there this morning,

Elsewhere around Northeast Ohio:

• In Geauga County: Director Arch Kimbrew said morning turnout has convinced him that his projection of a 45-percent turnout will be too low. "There are a lot of Democrats out and at every polling place," he said.

One observer in a largely Republican precinct in Chester Township noted that nearly 50 percent more Democrats than Republicans had voted this morning.

• In Portage County: Director Lois Enlow also said her estimate of a 40 percent turnout would be way too low. "We've been very, very busy," Enlow said.

She said the county had "the usual primary problems, but nothing major."

"I had one young man very angry with me because he voted issues-only and wanted to know where the candidates' names were after he cast his ballot," Enlow said. "Some people just don't always know what a primary really is."

• In Lorain County: Many voters said they liked the machines better than the paper ballots. They said they were faster and easier to read.

There were no lines in Oberlin, where some Oberlin College students waited as long as eight hours to vote in 2004. Students said many of their classmates took advantage of absentee voting or voted early.

By 9 a.m., eight voters were turned away at Paul Dunbar Elementary School on West 28th Street. Poll workers said the Board of Elections moved a precinct in November. Some voters continue show up to vote, but the poll workers are unsure of their new polling place.

The Board of Elections said they notified the residents of the change, but some voters told poll workers they never received the notice.