AKRON, Ohio – Hundreds of voters waited in a zigzagging line for as long as three hours on the last day of early voting at the Summit County Board of Elections office in Akron.
Kim Zurz, deputy director of the Summit Count BOE, said voters have been patient for the most part, but some are also voicing their frustration.
“They haven’t been able to find parking. They’ve have to wait and circle many, many times. There’s not a lot of public parking obviously around here,” Zurz said.
As of Monday afternoon, Zurz said 26,207 Summit County residents have voted early in person during this election season. That number is down from the last presidential election in 2008, when 38,637 voted early in person.
However, Zurz said there were more early voting days and longer voting hours during the 2008 election.
She also pointed out that voting by mail is up significantly in Summit County. 62,621 people have voted by mail so far in 2012, compared with 51,736 people four years ago.
While some voters were clearly irritated by the long wait to exercise their right to vote, they were not turning away.
“It’s good. Everybody should vote. I think it’s our privilege and our right. We should vote,” said Bob Marchindo, 51, of Twinsburg.
“My motto is you gotta vote like your life depends on it,” said Ladora Tyler, 33, of Akron.
Zurz said the lines could also be long on Election Day because Summit County has fewer precincts and polling locations. Zurz said cutbacks were made because the Ohio Secretary of State wanted to decrease costs.
In 2008, there were 475 precincts and 196 polling locations. This year, there are 298 precincts and 151 polling locations.
“There are not going to be any short lines anywhere. You’re going to have large precincts,” Zurz said.
Many of the folks, who waited in brisk temperatures on Monday, commented on the possibility that Ohio could decide the presidential election, which only fortified their desire to vote.
“Your vote does count. It does matter and it’s nice to see people are out, really caring to see what their country is all about,” said Tracy Foley, 40, of Akron.