Rec to be open for election Tuesday, local polling stations moved over coronavirus

Rachel Karas General assignment reporter Paige Bennett General assignment editor

The Beverly J. Warren Student Recreation and Wellness Center will be open on Tuesday, March 17 for voting. 

Kent State closed the Rec in light of its decision to suspend face-to-face classes over the coronavirus. However, anyone whose polling location is the Rec will still be able to vote there in the upcoming election. 

A polling station located at Kentway Retirement Center has been moved to the United Church of Christ and a station located at the University Hospital Portage Medical Arts building in Ravenna has also been moved to Maplewood Christian Church, according to the Portage County Board of Elections website

The decision to move the polling station from Kentway Retirement Center came after the Board of Elections received a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State’s office that told them to move it away from where any senior citizens lived, said Terrie Nielsen, deputy director of the Portage County Board of Elections. 

“United Church of Christ in Kent is a current polling location. And we were looking for someplace that was close to Kentway that could accommodate an additional polling location as well as additional parking,” Nielsen said. “So they were very gracious in providing us with the space.” 


How to get an absentee ballot in Ohio

Voters who cannot or do not want to vote in person can request an absentee ballot for the upcoming election. Here are the steps to take to getting an absentee ballot:

1. Fill out the absentee ballot request form.

2. Mail your request form to your local board of elections. The Portage County Board of Elections is located at 449 S Meridian St #101, Ravenna, OH 44266.

3. Wait to receive your absentee ballot in the mail.

4. Return your filled out ballot. This can be done by mail or in person. If you send it by mail, your ballot must be postmarked no later than one day before the election and received no later than 10 days after the election.

In regard to precautionary provisions, Nielsen said there will not be any hand sanitizer or sanitary wipes at polling stations due to two main issues.  

“First, it’s a supply and demand issue,” Nielsen said. “Second of all, much of those types of items cannot be used on our machinery. That will potentially render them inoperable.” 

Nielsen said, however, her office is “encouraging voters to take whatever protections that they feel are necessary,” which can include bringing their own pen. Her office is also suggesting for voters to go to polling stations early and during slower points in the day if they wish to avoid larger crowds. 

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Contact Rachel Karas at [email protected]

Contact Paige Bennett at [email protected]