June 20, 2006

Waiting 5 Hours to Vote in Oberlin, Ohio

Waiting 5 Hours to Vote in Oberlin, Ohio

To prepare for our 2004 Election show, we emailed listeners from Ohio, where the result was close and allegedly fraught with irregularities. We heard back from Drew Davis, a k a futuregraffiti, a fourth-year neuroscience major at Oberlin College:

It’s a small school in a small town 10 minutes off the turnpike, surrounded by seemingly endless cornfields. A 2 minute drive from the middle of town in any direction and you saw the Bush ’04 posters along the side of the road. Oberlin, however, is liberal, both past and present. The first school to admit women and African Americans, and the first to have co-ed dorms, Oberlin remains hanging off the left side of the Earth.

I remember being told to go to the polls early because they would be long… Good thing I had my iPod and a few books along with me! I waited with other students in a 5 to 6 hour line that wove through the entire church, up and down every pew and along both sides of the hallways. When we finally reached the end, we found a room full of empty machines! They were only letting students use 2 or 3 out of the 20+ machines they had operating! Every once in a while we’d see a “townie” show up and walk right in, vote, and be on their way in less than 5 mins. Maybe this is common practice for college towns, but we thought it was rather inefficient.

I think I remember that the Governor came to “encourage” us to stay in line and wait it out. I also remember hearing that we had some of, if not THE longest lines in the country. (maybe we just made that up to feel special).

Drew Davis, in an email to Open Source, 6/10/06

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  • Potter

    Shameful.

  • Melvin Donaldson

    It’s one reason I vote absentee.

  • David Weinstein

    I think secretary of stte Kenneth Blackwell first tries to outlaw all student voting in Ohio but that was overturned by the court. If Blackwell et al devised this means to discourage students from voting, how many other dirty tricks did he devise and get away with.

    Why hasn’t anyone sued this man?