The day after the election, Jon Husted could breathe easier. Ohio weathered the vote without major troubles. The secretary of state did not face the narrow margin in the presidential race that promised a litigation nightmare. Yet, in these parts, Summit County, to be exact, there were rumblings stemming from the long lines, voters waiting as many as three hours to cast ballots.
Actually, the long lines began with in-person early voting, the weekend before the election, many voters standing for hours in the cold at the county board of elections. Might these people have planned better, calculated a more convenient time to vote, especially since early voting began in early October? That isn’t how it should work.
The elections process must meet the standard of a power company. It isn’t sufficient for FirstEnergy to have enough electricity for most of its customers to run the air-conditioning on the warmest day. All of us expect the convenience.
So it should be with voting, the exercise so important that the machinery should be equipped to handle the demand, a 30-minute wait verging on the unacceptable. No doubt, the state legislature will revisit election matters in the coming months. Lawmakers might recall the emerging consensus a few years ago about allowing counties the option of multiple centers for in-person early voting.
Would that require additional money for elections boards? In Summit County, the pursuit of an answer should begin with a performance audit, the state auditor looking deeply at the operation, taking up the task that so far has been conducted haphazardly and likely contributed to the long lines.