LIMA — Dozens of people flooded the Allen County Board of Elections office Sunday in the first hour of early voting.
Voters can still cast their ballots from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today or wait until Election Day, Tuesday.
Some are likely trying to avoid large groups of people to avoid COVID-19.
“It hasn’t affected us until today, and it seems to have increased. We’ve got a steady flow this afternoon,” said Kathy Meyer, Allen County Board of Elections director. “We have noticed poll workers canceling on us, but we have been able to get new poll workers and call on our backups. We are hoping we don’t lose too many more.”
Voting on Tuesday will happen as scheduled. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said Sunday afternoon that voting has been happening for weeks now, and it cannot be canceled in the middle of it.
“The state has declared that voting is not a mass event because there’s not hundreds of people tightly packed together in one location for hours at a time,” Meyer said.
Meyer says people need to take precautions when they come to vote.
“If you come into vote, wash your hands thoroughly before you come in to vote. Bring your own pen. Mark your ballot. Leave your ballot — leave it, wash your hands either right after or before you leave the facility or as soon as you get home, or use hand sanitizer,” Meyer said.
The availability of hand sanitizer is spotty at poll locations.
“The only hand sanitizer we’ve been able to get out to the polls is an eight-ounce bottle per location, and that’s not going to go very far,” Meyer said.
The Allen County Board of Elections will offer curbside voting today and Tuesday. Early in-person voting is 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. today. Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
“Someone would drive you to the polls or to our office, they come in and say, ‘I have someone in the car who would like to vote.’ We take the sign-in sheet out to them. They sign. We come back, print their ballot, take it out to them, bring it in, make sure it goes through the tabulator and release them to go,” Meyer said.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.