Franklin County, Ohio Forced to Ditch Electronic Pollbooks After Surge in Early Voting

Voters arrive for early voting in Columbus in Franklin County, Ohio.
Voters arrive for early voting in Columbus in Franklin County, Ohio.
Photo: Ty Wright (Getty Images)

Franklin County, the largest county in Ohio, has moved back to paper ballots after unprecedented levels of early voting created data files too large to sync with the hard drives of electronic pollbooks, according to the Columbus Dispatch.


The pollbooks have been used for years, according to the Dispatch, but the surge in absentee and early voting this year (a record-shattering 3.4 million) meant that voting officials weren’t able to download last-minute updates before Nov. 3.

Franklin County Board of Elections director Ed Leonard told the Dispatch that 350,982 of the county’s 833,000 registered voters had cast early votes and election officials “can’t guarantee all the data would be there for all the most recent absentee activity.” Instead, poll workers will use paper records to check identification. That slows down processing at the polls but is not anticipated to be a major problem as it is how elections were run in the past, Leonard told the paper.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office tweeted that the issue affects only the check-in process, not voting machines.

The county’s pollbook provider, KnowInk, was fingered by Los Angeles County officials as one of the root causes of glacially slow lines during California’s March 3, 2020 primary election. Issues flagged by L.A. County officials included lengthy delays synchronizing the tablets, voters incorrectly told to cast provisional ballots, a bug that made it impossible to search for registered voters by their street and house number, and general glitchy behavior.

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Oh for shits sake, there is absolutely no excuse for a voting system to not be able to handle 100% of the people that could potentially vote. When designing these systems and for that matter when requesting bids from companies that actually make these systems work the idiots in charge should have spec’d out that the system must be capable of handling up and including 100% of the people that could ever use it. I mean the population rate increase over the years is an estimatable quantity. The possibility (even though it may be unlikely) where 100% of the people want to vote exists, so just size the system such that 100% of the people that could vote in say the next 30 years, are able to. You know, because people have the right to, and if they have the right to, then the system should be sized to handle it.

Of all the lazy stupid bullshit.

Please tell me: Why do you believe that we can’t have a secure electronic election system? Do you understand the concept of offline-archival? Do you understand the concept of read-only data? Data that you burn once and is forever read-only after that point? It would be relatively trivial to have a voting system that takes snapshots of itself for complete 1-way read-only archival of data once or twice every hour. You think someone hacked in and changed some votes? We have a multi-layer blu-ray for that where each vote could be checked and if a vote were changed at any point, it would be detected and investigated. You think we can’t make something anonymous yet traceable? Let me introduce you to this concept of Blockchain. Cryptocurrently has only been around for 11 years.

We have all of the technologies necessary to make an online voting system that never has any “dangling chads”. If you can sign your life away on line for a bank account, loan, or submit any legal documents, then you can damn well vote online, we just have to build it.