Kent Library serves as one of many polling locations

Kaitlyn Finchler, Digital Content Manager

With only a few hours left to vote, the polling managers and workers are gearing up for the next three hours. At the Kent Library, located at 312 W. Main St., Ohio voters can head up to the second floor to the right of the computers to send in their ballots.

Sara Moore and Janice Simmons-Mortimer are both voting location managers at the library, where they are spending their day from 5:45 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. when the polls close.

“I prefer to be involved in making sure everybody can vote than getting involved for particular candidates or issues,” Moore said. “This is a good way to be part of the community and make sure that the system works like it should.”

Janice Simmons-Mortimer (back middle) and Sara Moore (right) oversee a polling worker giving a man his ballot at the Kent Free Library on Nov. 8. They are both voting location managers at this precinct. (Kaitlyn Finchler)

Simmons-Mortimer said she agrees with Moore and that to her, it doesn’t matter who people vote for, as long as they’re voting.

“I believe that if you have any questions about the elections, what better way to have those answered than by serving as a poll worker,” Simmons-Mortimer said.

They both said the turnout throughout the day was “great,” with a lull around noon, but that voters came steadily throughout the day.

Everybody who volunteers as a poll worker goes through a two to three hour training session before election day, with an additional training session for location managers.

The location managers and a return official go to the Board of Elections office at the end of the day to turn in the ballots so the next steps of the process can be started.

“Everything is done in a bipartisan manner,” Simmons-Mortimer said. “When we [work with] the return officials, we always have someone of the opposite party, so it’s a bipartisan group handling situations.”

Savannah Insana, a project coordinator in the psychology department at Kent State, stood outside the library with flyers for a voting survey.

“We’re recruiting people for a survey seeing how people feel different about issues facing our country today,” Insana said. “We’re lucky enough to be in a country where we can [vote] and our voice matters so I think it’s really important.”

Matt Kilboy, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District. (Courtesy of Matt Kilboy for Congress)

Among the voters and poll workers in attendance was Matt Kilboy, the Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 14th Congressional District. His opponent is Republican David Joyce in this election.

“[The library] was one of many stops I made today,” Kilboy said. “I have five counties in the 14th Congressional District, and Portage Country is one of them. This particular polling location is one of the bigger precincts in the county so that’s why I chose to come out here.”

Rather than focusing on things he’s interested in, Kilboy said his issues on the ballot are geared toward what he’s learned from listening to his constituents.

“Things like women’s rights, reproductive freedom and making appropriate choices for them, affordability of healthcare [and] the economy has been a big one,” Kilboy said. “The elephant in the room is our democracy, the ability to go out and have free and fair elections without being concerned about the outcomes or having some radical candidates elected into office.”

Kilboy said “all candidates say this,” but it’s one of the most important elections he’s ever voted in.

“There’s so much on the line, depending on who gets elected into office today dictates the direction of this country and the direction we go,” Kilboy said. “We could either maintain our democracy and build it back or we could spiral down into an autocracy, which is what we’re all worried for.”

Kaitlyn Finchler is digital content manager. Contact her at [email protected]