Poll Workers are a massively important part of election day. Without people volunteering for this civic duty, it would be impossible to maintain our democracy. William Childers, a voting location manager for the portage county board of elections is one of these important individuals.
“We’ve been doing voting since 6:30 this morning when the polls opened and we’ve got a crew of 12 people working the three precincts here at the United Church of Christ,” said Childers. “We arrived at 5:30 for set up and we’ve been here ever since and will be here until the polls close at 7:30.”
Childers was able to give some insight on voter turnout today, which has looked different today than in previous elections.
“Turnout at the precinct level is slow compared to other presidential elections,” said Childers, who also worked the polls for the 2016 presidential election, as well as two smaller ones. “We all speculate that it’s due to the people who voted early.”
Childers also speculated that the low turnout could be due to the timing.
“This morning it was much busier right when we opened. We had a big rush and then at about 9:30 it had cooled off,” said Childers. “were just kind of at a slow moment but people will start coming out again I’m sure.”
Matthew Bell, a second time voter, had a difficult time with the voting process at the United Church of Christ in Kent, Ohio. As a resident of Summit County, but a student at Kent State, he was unaware that he couldn’t vote at the location right off campus.
“They told me I’m not in the right zone to vote. I asked for a provisional ballot but they told me I’d have to go to a whole different location to vote,” said Bell. “It’s my second time voting, I didn’t know I had to be registered within the county itself so it’s just the learning process. I want to make an impact on society so I’m still going to go over and vote in my county.”
Bell feels as though he has been diverted away from voting due to the difficulties he’s had so far but understands the importance of sticking it out.
“I feel as if they tried to divert me and discourage me from voting, which I’ve never felt before,” said Bell. “I’m not discouraged at all though. It’s something that I have to do as a black man, so it won’t happen and I’m still going to vote.”
Although feeling discouraged by the process, poll workers were able to help Bell find a location where he would be eligible.