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2018 was a big election year in Ohio. Republicans held onto all five statewide executive offices including governor and super majorities in both the Ohio House and Senate. But there were a few bright spots for Democrats, among them the reelection of U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the election of two Democrats to the Ohio Supreme Court.With election 2018 over, the focus now shifts to governing. Stay connected with the latest on politics, policies and people making the decisions at all levels affecting your lives.

Portage County Switches From Touch-Screen to Paper Ballots

a photo of voting booths

The Portage County Board of Elections has a new voting system in place for Tuesday's primary, following problems last fall.

After a decade of using touch-screen computers to count votes, Portage County will now use optical-scan sheets, sometimes called "bubble sheets" because users must fill in small bubbles next to their choices. Portage County Board of Elections Deputy Director Theresa Nielsen says the switch is due to problems last fall with tabulating votes in the old TSX machines.

“The switch occurred because we had a computer issue with our TSX machines at the November election in the evening when we went to tabulate the votes, which we eventually got fixed and everything was tabulated appropriately. The only new systems that are currently approved in the State of Ohio are paper ballot/optical scan systems.
“Because the TSX’s are 10 years old, and they were no longer making them, the Portage County Board of Commissioners told us that we could get a new election system.”

Nielsen says the county used to use punch-cards for the ballots before the touch screens, which can no longer be brought up-to-date. The new system costs about $1.3 million.

The Portage County Board of Elections is open for in-person early voting voting at the following times:

Friday, March 11: 8 a.m.-7 p.m
Saturday, March 12: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sunday, March 13: 1 p.m.-5 p.m.
Monday, March 14: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.