Voters stood in line for an hour to up to three hours on Monday outside of the Summit County Board of Elections on the last day of early voting before Election Day today.
Walt Green, 51, of Akron, tried to early vote the beginning of last week but the lines were too long and then drove by the elections board on Sunday and was again discouraged by the lines.
Green was waiting in line about 11 a.m. and planning to vote for President Barack Obama.
“I am going Democrat,” said Green, who works at the post office, who was optimistic about Obama’s chances.
“It’s looking great,” he said.
University of Akron student Joe Filimon was willing to wait the expected hour to two hours Monday because he had classes scheduled for Election Day and several tests during the week.
“Romney,” he said, was his choice for president.
“I have conservative views,” Filimon said.
Licensed practical nurse Christen Byrd said her schedule was full today and she would not be able to vote on Election Day.
“I think it will be close,” said the Obama supporter. “But I think he is going to win.
University of Akron student Jay Masters, 27, of Cuyahoga Falls, said he would vote for Romney on Monday because he was pressed for time today.
“I think it is going to be a landslide,” in favor of Romney said Masters.
Turnout, he said, was larger than he anticipated, but he was glad to be voting.
“We have to do our part,” he said.
For Tony Goldinger, 55, of Akron, after learning that the wait Monday was an hour to two hours, the Obama supporter left without voting.
After driving the neighborhood for a half-hour, looking for a place to park, he then walked to the board and learned of the lengthy wait facing him.
Goldinger said he could not vote today because his wife, Toni Goldinger, had outpatient surgery scheduled and he had to be with her and then care for her when she got home after the surgery.
“I’m not going to vote, unfortunately,” he said.
“At least this way it will be one vote Romney won’t get,” he said.
Summit County Sheriff’s Office Inspector Bill Holland said the department had to more than double the number of deputies who helped with traffic and crowds at the Board of Elections over the weekend and Monday.
Last week, there were two deputies at a time at the early voting site at the Board of Elections but Saturday, Sunday and Monday, five deputies were working to control crowds and traffic due to the number of people who were waiting in line to vote, Holland said.
Liz Mozzocco, 30, music director and midday on-air announcer at WAPS 91.3 The Summit told listeners Monday about her experience waiting for three hours to vote on Sunday.
She said she arrived at the Board of Elections in Akron at 3:30 p.m. and even though the board closed at 5 p.m. those who were in line were allowed to vote.
“It was crazy,” she said of the huge crowed waiting to vote but it was worth it.
“It helps you realize what we faced was pretty minor compared to what a lot of people have faced in American history” in trying to vote.
“It was worth it,” she said.
She finally left the elections board at 6:30 p.m. Sunday, casting her vote for Obama.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted reported Saturday that as of Friday more than 1.6 million Ohioans had already cast their ballots and of more than 1.3 million absentee ballots that have been mailed to voters during the absentee voting period, more than 1 million have already been returned.
In addition, Husted said, nearly 500,000 have voted in person at their local elections board or vote center in the state.
Absentee ballots returned by mail must have been postmarked by Monday, Nov. 5, and received no later than Nov. 16.
Voters can also return their absentee ballot in person to their local elections board up until the close of polls today.
Husted said voters who requested an absentee ballot but who instead vote in person will be required to vote provisionally.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.