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Warren County takes a page from Kings Island's book as polling lines lengthen

Posted at 4:15 PM, Nov 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-02 19:39:56-05

WARREN COUNTY, Ohio — Standing in line for more than an hour to have the thrill of a seven-minute roller coaster ride isn't quite like doing the same for the thrill of casting a ballot, but Warren County officials are doing their best to keep everything as upbeat as International Street.

Voters in line in Warren County may have seen the tips and tricks the Elections Board borrowed from the experts at Cedar Fair: a speaker playing upbeat music, a character dressed as Uncle Sam, signs, and free-styling sing-a-longs that officials hoped would make standing in line a bit more bearable for voters.

"We actually met with the CEO of Cedar Fair, and they were able to give us some ideas," said Brian Sleeth, with the Warren County Board of Elections.

In anticipation of larger early voting and Election Day crowds, Secretary of State Frank LaRose and members of his Ready for November task force gleaned tips from the owners of Kings Island and Cedar Point to help ease tension and boredom while voters wait.

"Signs for them to read," said Sleeth. "You know, you gotta keep voters distracted in line so they're not thinking they're there as long. But a big part is how long the lines are. They're not really as long as they look because we're distanced six feet apart."

With 80% of registered voters expecterd to cast ballots and more than one out of every three ballots still remaining uncast, staff expect the rush and the lines to be only bigger when they open Warren County's 1`75 precincts on Election Day.

Sleeth said staff has averaged getting roughly four voters in and out per minute, a pace he said he expects to see at other polling places Tuesday, regardless of crowd size -- so although the lines may look as intimidating as waiting for Orion, they'll move much more quickly.