By Nathan Pilling
XENIA — Voter turnout in the March 15 primary election in Greene County was up by about 13,000 voters over the 2012 presidential primary, according to unofficial final results.
The 47-percent voter turnout for this primary was down, however, compared to the 51-percent turnout in the 2008 primary when both major parties had contested presidential races. About 53,600 Greene County voters turned out for that election, compared to the approximately 50,800 voters this year.
Greene County followed statewide trends in those elections, with a 43-percent turnout in Ohio in this election, a 23-percent turnout in 2012 and a 46-percent turnout in 2008.
Greene County Board of Elections Director Denise Percival acknowledged that some voters saw longer lines due to the higher turnout, but thought overall that the election went off well locally.
“We were so pleased to see the turnout in Greene County,” Percival said. “Very interested obviously, the voters are in the election process and what’s occurring for anywhere from the local level all the way up to our federal level. It was great to see everyone engaged.”
Tuesday saw the first use of the county’s iPad voter check-in system in a major election.
“Change is always a process,” Percival said of the system’s adoption. “… Everyone’s still being introduced to the technology and having an adjustment period, but I think overall it will be an excellent addition to our service plan.”
Percival said informal time studies at three locations reported that the check-in process for voters was completed in a minute or less.
The county used all of its 115 iPads at 32 locations for voter check-ins, according to Percival. While she said it would be “fantastic” to have additional systems, she called purchasing more a “fine line to walk.”
“It’s hard to justify buying more to support a voter turnout you only see every four years,” she said.
Percival said the board plans to look into leasing additional equipment to use in the November general election.
“We would certainly love to see more equipment in the field,” she said. “But [you] have to take a budgetary and conservative approach in the sense of – one election every four years, how do you really plan and manage equipment? – which I think is a reasonable approach.”
The board will open its official vote canvas March 28 and will likely complete certification at its meeting March 29.