New voting machines accepted at Italian-American Society

Natalie Pillsbury

Although candidates Timothy Ludick and Frank Cimino were not elected for judge, the atmosphere was somber but peaceful at the Italian American Society in Ravenna last night.

“I think we’ve gone from pensive and curious steadily to depression,” said John Thomas, former Portage County commissioner and auditor.

Thomas said it is easy to remain hopeful, but it’s always a disappointment to lose.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to experience the fruit of victory and the raspberries of defeat,” Thomas said.

Thomas, who graduated from Kent State, was the first and only student elected to Kent City Council in 1975.

There was a sense of frustration with the slowness with which results were posted.

“I think it’s slower than usual,” said Larry Barkley, a Portage County resident present at the Italian American Society. “There’s a bit of frustration.”

Thomas said he was skeptical of the new voting machines.

“I always thought that within our county the punch card system was fine,” he said.

Thomas added that he is optimistic that people will catch up.

Steve Shanafelt, a presiding judge in Brimfield and Portage County treasurer, was pleased overall with the new voting machines.

Shanafelt said the public poll workers were well-prepared.

“They were successful in getting into the community and giving demonstrations,” he said. “Every bit of work they did was well worth it.”

Shanfelt described an encounter he had with an older gentleman who said he was “not computer literate and didn’t intend to become computer literate.”

Shanafelt walked the gentleman through the process. When the man was finished voting, he said, “You know what? I think I’m going to go buy a computer.”

Contact public affairs reporter Natalie Pillsbury at [email protected].