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Election efforts are praised

Early voters in the Nov. 4 election cast nearly half the ballots in Summit County, which allowed lines on Election Day to flow smoothly.

There were almost 1,300 absentee ballots and more than 7,000 people voted early in the two weeks prior to Election Day.

"It was just kind of a steady trickle through the day, and we expected it to be pretty busy all day long," said Ryan Cowley, chief deputy Summit County clerk.

More than 62 percent of the 27,277 people who are registered to vote in the county cast ballots. The Summit County Commission last week praised Summit County Clerk Kent Jones for overseeing the most smoothly run local election in recent memory.

"I’d like to be the first to congratulate Kent for running a fine election," Summit County Commissioner Bob Richer said.

County Commissioner Sally Elliott said poll workers were friendly and well trained.

"And I still have some hair left," Jones joked.

Meanwhile, 413 provisional ballots were inspected after Election Day to ensure people who cast them were qualified to vote, Cowley said.

"We sorted them and qualified them," Cowley said. "We had 47 who had never registered and one didn’t count because they weren’t a resident of the county."

Eighty-eight percent of the provisional ballots counted, he said.

"I know some people have a huge fear of provisional, but we go out of our way to try to count everything that we can," Cowley said. "I think that 88 percent speaks highly to that."

Summit County in the past was the last area to report Election Day results. But the counts this year were finalized by 10:15 p.m., Cowley boasted.

"We had county employees working as our poll managers and we sat down last December and plotted out our processes as I went over our closing procedure If we would have walked out by one I was going to be happy, by midnight I would have been ecstatic," Cowley said. "We customized everything and just simplified the closing paperwork, so people were very familiar with that, and because of that level of proficiency we were able to close out very quickly."

Foot traffic after 6 p.m. dropped off at most of the county’s 15 polling locations, he said.

"I think early voting had an impact on that," Cowley said. "It really slowed down in the evening."


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