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With low turnout, why did some Ohioans face long voting lines?

Voters wait in a long line.
Michael De Bonis
Voters wait in a long line at the First Unitarian Universalist Church in Columbus' Clintonville neighborhood on November 8, 2022. The wait on election night was approximately 90 minutes.

Voters across Ohio reported lines at some polling places on election day November 8. But unofficial voter turnout statewide was 51%, down from almost 56% in 2018, and far below turnout in 2020.

Voters in Franklin County reported lines even at polling places that typically don’t have them. But turnout in Franklin County was 47%, down from 55% in 2018.

Aaron Sellers with the Franklin County Board of Elections said he thinks several Columbus bond issues contributed to long lines in the county.

"We believe that to be because of the extensive amount of bond issues and charter amendments that were on voters’ plates in the city of Columbus,” he said.

Columbus voters saw three charter amendments and five bond issues. Other communities had long ballots too: Reynoldsburg had six charter amendments, Bay Village and Ravenna each had five charter sections, and there were three charter amendments before voters in Maumee, Streetsboro, Oregon and Stow – and in many of those areas, turnout was down.

“When you’ve got all that stuff that you have to read, it takes time. I would imagine that it took voters 8 to 10 to 11 minutes in some of those areas of Columbus to cast a ballot," he said.