Smooth start to voting

Is Hamilton County ready for Ohio's Primary?
Voting is off to a smooth start for Hamilton County precincts, election officials say. (FOX19 NOW/Dave Reed)
Voting is off to a smooth start for Hamilton County precincts, election officials say. (FOX19 NOW/Dave Reed)

HAMILTON COUNTY, OH (FOX19) - Hamilton County had several problems with its e-books in November, but no immediate troubles were reported when polls opened Tuesday morning.

A judge decided to keep the polls open an hour and a half later delaying results on big issues for the entire state.

Jerry Hangenhoff said he was one of those voter that had problems at his voting location.

"They told me I didn't belong there," said Hangenhoff.

A process that usually takes him a few minutes took him an hour and a half, he recalled.

"They were sending me around forever to two different places," said Hangenhoff.

FOX19 NOW talked with both the director and deputy director of the Hamilton County Board of Elections to see what improvements were made in light of last fall's issues.

Jerry's voting trip Tuesday should once again be a simple process, they predicted.

"I think, knock on wood, it'll go a lot smoother," said deputy director Sally Krisel.

Krisel and Deputy Director Sherry Poland said several changes were made.

With more than 550,000 registered voters, all hands were on deck when polls opened at 6:30 a.m.

"Presidential elections - generals and primaries - always see a higher turnout," Poland said.

To handle those crowds, poll workers started setting up their precincts Monday night.

"They're going through their supplies making sure they have everything that they need for tomorrow morning, checking the equipment - making sure that's all up and running," Poland said Monday night.

County election officials have 2,300 precinct officials trained and about 27,000 poll workers, which is more than enough to cover all of the county's busiest precincts, Poland said.

They also removed the printer process from the e-poll books so now there's going to be less of a problem hooking up the e-poll books.

"We worked very hard with our vendor to make a check-list on what you need to go through to make sure everything is programmed correctly. We also doubled the size of our phone bank," Krisel said.

Poll workers said one of the biggest problems last year was training.

"The training was abysmal," said poll worker Robert Martin. "People that train had one motive in mind that I could see and that's to get people out the door within four hours."

Krisel said no problems emerged in training this time.

Election officials also will have 116 troubleshooters in the field all day and night.

Each one will be responsible for three locations that are grouped close together.

The idea is to have them quickly go directly to the location to solve any problems.

Registered voters who need to change their address and vote can take care of that Tuesday on the second floor of the Hamilton County Board of Elections, 824 Broadway St.

If you are not changing your address, you will have to go to another voting location within your precinct.

Copyright 2016 WXIX. All rights reserved.