Hamilton County election officials say roughly 1,100 voters came out to the Board of Elections Monday to cast the final early votes.
Voters had until 2 p.m. to get in line before they were turned away. Because the downtown building is older and smaller than election officials would prefer, they were only able to move less than 200 voters through the polls each hour. Officials also say the limited space has forced them to use rooms for multiple functions, sometimes having to relocate projects to different areas of the building to make room for new uses like the Election Day command center.
"This facility has some challenges, but not enough to prevent us from having a clean election, an election that we can all trust in the outcome of," said commissioner Greg Hartmann, who is a Republican.
The lines continued to say long outside the polls downtown on Broadway as voters made one last push to get their voices heard early.
"I kept saying ‘I had time, I had time' and next thing you know it's the day before Election Day," Tamiska Gross told FOX19.
Gross was one of the last voters allowed in line when it shut down at 2 p.m.
"It was now or never because if I didn't vote today I wasn't going to be able to vote tomorrow," Gross explained.
While voters waited outside, Hamilton County commissioners toured the inside of the Board of Elections facility on Broadway.
"The nation is going to be watching," commissioner Greg Hartmann said. "I thought that it was important that we came over and assured voters that they've got policies and practices and procedures in place to make sure that it'll be a clean election."
"It's just good to see everybody doing what they're supposed to be doing and seeing the equipment operating properly," echoed fellow commissioner Todd Portune, a Democrat.
This election, officials say they used a new ballot mail sorting machine that runs 12 to 14 hours a day to help make the absentee ballot sorting process move more quickly and efficiently. They also say data cards will be used to store the information from each precinct. Hamilton County election officials say there are 545 precincts in the county this election cycle.
So far 104,000 absentee ballots of the roughly 120,000 mailed out have been returned.
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Sunday, May 19 2013 6:27 PM EDT2013-05-19 22:27:30 GMT
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