The Hamilton County Board of Elections receives questions from the public about the 2020 election and election security every day, even almost two years later.
As the 2022 election approaches, the number of emails and requests for public records from members of the public regarding the 2020 election has increased, said Alex Linser, deputy director of the council. Over the past two weeks, they’ve averaged about three a day, he said.
“There are two common themes we get — distrust of voting machines and one that seeks to replicate all of the material created in the 2020 election,” Linser said. The latter, which includes each ballot identification envelope, costs $75,000 to copy each sheet. No one accepted that offer from the board of elections, Linser said.
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It’s not just Hamilton County. Supporters of former President Donald Trump and his bogus claims of a stolen 2020 election have overwhelmed election commissions in more than two dozen states and counties across Ohio, the Washington Post, National Public Radio reported. and other news agencies.
“The Board of Elections receives a lot of communications from people who question the integrity of the 2020 elections,” Linser said. “We know it was the most accurate and secure election in American history. The good news is, you don’t have to take my word for it. We can show you.”
Here’s what Linser and other elected officials want you to know.
No internet for voting machines
Voting machines cannot access the internet, election officials said. The Ohio secretary of state requires independent verification that every voting machine has no hardware capable of going online, Linser said.
In addition, no computer in the room where the votes are counted on election night can access the Internet. The lack of internet is also the reason there is a one to two hour delay between the reporting of absentee ballots, which are already in the election office, and the first precincts, Linser and the Electoral Officer Sherry Poland during a media tour on Tuesday.
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A fleet of 26 trucks delivers voting materials from polling stations to the election office for tabulation. The first trucks usually don’t arrive until 9:30 or 10 p.m. on election night.
An election official cannot upload results to the web from the counting room. There is no internet. So they have to take a USB stick to another computer in the building to upload the results for the public to see.
Investigators work in bipartite teams
Those who work at the Hamilton County Board of Elections repeat a mantra during election season, “bipartisan teams.”
If you watch the informational videos that the Hamilton County Board of Elections has posted on its website, you’ll hear the phrase over and over again.
Election officials want to drill into the public consciousness that Republicans and Democrats share equal scrutiny. The four-member Hamilton County Board of Elections includes two Republicans and two Democrats.
Four Board of Elections rooms require both a Republican and a Democrat to use their password to enter. This includes the counting room and the large locked cage where the ballots are stored. Without the cards of a Democrat or a Republican, the chambers remain closed.
No megaphones allowed
People can start voting early and in person on Oct. 12 at the Hamilton County Board of Elections Early Voting Center. But there will be a subtle difference on the outside. Politicians and their camps outside in the parking lot will not have megaphones. They were getting too loud and could be heard in the voting booths, election officials said. So the Hamilton County Board of Elections banned them.
Strong turnout and more postal votes
Poland and Linser expect this election to have a high turnout for a midterm. In the 2018 midterm elections, 58% of Hamilton County voters turned out at the polls for the general election.
Based on the number of mail-in votes, this election could see a much higher number. As of Tuesday morning, with 50 days until the election, the Hamilton County Board of Elections received 37,896 mail-in ballot applications. At the same time in 2018, the board had received 17,126 mail-in ballot requests, an increase of 121%.
For more information on how to vote, visit the Hamilton County Board of Elections at votehamiltoncountyohio.gov.