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Three reasons to vote early at Hamilton County Board of Elections

Wait's short, you can meet celebrity, ride free
Posted at 3:31 AM, Nov 04, 2018

NORWOOD, Ohio  – If you’re planning to vote Sunday at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, you could see a celebrity, get a free ride and stand in a line that wraps around the building.

Don’t let that last thing keep you away, though. Long lines were moving fast on Saturday.

 "All the voters here today - there's a line - but everyone is being patient, in good spirits," said Board of Elections Director Sherry Poland.

That even included Marcia Daniels, who says she hates to stand in line.

"My friend called and said she was going. I said, ‘I need to go. Come pick me up.’ She picked me up. I saw the line, and said, ‘Oh, no. I don't do lines,’ “ Daniels said.

But Daniels was pleasantly surprised.

 "I got in the line. The line actually went fast,” Daniels said.

So don’t fret it. Besides, if you vote early Sunday,  you may see singer John Legend drumming up support for Democrats.  Legend is scheduled to attend an 11 a.m rally at 4900 Smith Road, two blocks from the BOE at 4700 Smith Road. At 1 p.m.,  there will be a short march  to the BOE.

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For sure, you’ll get to say you were part of history. Early in-person voting at the Board of Elections has already smashed the record for a midterm election in Hamilton County, according to Poland, and there’s two days to go before Election Day on Tuesday.

If you’re registered in Hamilton County, you can vote early at the BOE on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. or Monday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Or, wait until Tuesday and vote at your polling place between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.

RELATED: When, where and how to vote in the Tri-State.

More than 16,000 people have cast an early in-person vote in Hamilton County. That’s more than five times the early turnout in 2014, Poland said. Poland attributes the increase not only to the hotly-contested midterms but also to the BOE’s move from downtown.

“A lot of it has to do with our new location here in Norwood. Center of the county. It's much more accessible. Plenty of free public parking," Poland said.

A five-story parking garage is right next door.  

Poland said efficiency is the key to moving people quickly through the lines.  

"We've opened up additional stations, additional voting booths. We have staff stationed outside the board of elections," Poland said.

And if you need a ride to the BOE, you can get one from Terence Gragston. He’s the guy on speed dial standing outside the BOE.


 "This is Terence Gragston with the Souls to the Polls hotline," he said on his cell phone Saturday.

Gragston is one of many people who arrange free rides to get voters to the polls.

 "We serve the community. We serve the people,” he said. “For us to be able to facilitate that process for a monumental event like the general election, it feels pretty good." 

Elyse Cogar said she grabbed a ride through the service.  

"I thought it was a convenient, great service. Took advantage of it. Didn't want to rush on Tuesday," Cogar said.

You can get a free ride by calling the Pickup Hotline at 513-318-8332 or the NAACP Office at 513-281-1900.

RELATED: More info to help voters get to the polls.