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Ohio State voters meet long lines at Ohio Union

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

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Voters at the Ohio Union were met with long lines on Election Day.
One voting precinct in Franklin County has a polling location inside the Union, which became a popular polling site for more than 3,000 Ohio State students and campus-area residents.
“This is the second election that we’ve had a voting location at the Union,” said Ben Piscitelli, spokesman for the Franklin County Board of Elections.
Piscitelli also said that while this is only the second year of having a voting location at the Union, there used to be a voting location at the previous Ohio Union.
The Union is located in precinct 41D, which encompasses the OSU residence halls and part of the surrounding community.
“There are 3,112 registered to vote there (the Union),” Piscitelli said. These are not only OSU students — Columbus residents that live within the precinct are eligible to vote at that location as well.
Having more than 3,000 eligible voters for one location meant long waits at the polls for some students.
“I waited for two hours,” said Nicole Kontur, a first-year in mathematics, at about 12:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Kontur wasn’t the only student unhappy about the long wait.
Around noon, the line to vote stretched from the Great Hall Meeting Room on the first floor of the Union, down the back hallway that runs past Station 88 and out the side door, spilling onto the patio near High Street.
“We heard it was busy,” said Zach Manifold of the Franklin County Board of Elections. Manifold said board of elections personnel were called out to the Union in the early afternoon to help with heavy voter traffic.  
Some students noted that staff working the polls were accommodating to the crowd.
“Everyone here has been very hospitable. They offered us food while we were outside and stuff … and the line’s just moved by quickly once you get inside so it’s nice,” said Steven Apicella, a first-year in electrical engineering.
Many students were spotted in the line reading books or attempting to work on class assignments.
Despite the long waits, some students felt the wait was worth it to be able to vote in person and on Election Day.
“It’s the first time I get to vote. I feel like it’s important,” said Zach Dombi, a first-year in mechanical engineering.
Dombi was the last person in the line to vote at the Union at 12:30 p.m., but it wasn’t long until another group of voters joined the end of the line as well.
“I’ll probably be standing here two hours,” Dombi said.

Liz Young contributed to this article.

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