Where I live in Franklin County, Ohio, lines were so long for the presidential election of 2004 that some people waited six hours in line to vote. Turnout in 2008 is expected to be even higher.
How will things go here on Tuesday? Well, if you go by the smoothness of early voting there’s cause for concern. On the one hand, the large number of people using early voting facilities is reassuring; the thousands of people who go to the Veterans Memorial facility downtown are freeing up spaces for everybody else. On the other hand, the smoothness of the voting process for early voters is worrisome. Due partially to a very long ballot, people are waiting in line for up to two hours in Franklin County. This is in a very large facility at a time when there isn’t a scarcity of voting equipment.
How will the Franklin County Board of Elections deal with the rush on Election Day? Last week they were appearing on local radio with plans to move voting machines away from precincts where a lot of people have already voted early. When lines get overly long on Tuesday, voters will be given provisional ballots, which are less likely to be actually counted than the regular ballots to which other voters are entitled.
I’m too dim to see with certainty how all of these trends wll intertwine to affect the integrity of Tuesday’s vote in Ohio, but it looks like there will be a lot to follow here.