COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio voters have less than 48 hours left to cast a ballot in the 2022 midterm election — and Tuesday morning, once early voting has ended, hundreds of thousands will likely head to their polling precincts to vote in person on Election Day.
Election Day voting locations are often relatively close to where people live, League of Women Voters Executive Director Jen Miller said.
But standards under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the amount of parking available, and proper ventilation can all determine whether somewhere in a community turns into a polling location. “You’re at the whim of what your community has available,” said Kayla Griffin, the Ohio director of the national voting rights organization All Voting is Local.
The realities of the central Ohio landscape — particularly in Columbus — can also mean that even polling precincts within walking distance are not necessarily accessible just by foot.
“It might not be safe if there are not sidewalks,” Miller said, adding that lower-income neighborhoods are sometimes more likely to be without walkable street features.
Before Tuesday: Check your polling location, have a plan in place
Whether you are trying to cast your vote before the sun is fully in the sky on Tuesday or are squeezing the ballot box in during a midday lunch break, have a plan in place.
Beyond knowing the candidates, a voting plan also includes hammering out how you are getting to the polls — and where you are going, to begin with.
Polling locations frequently change in the months before the election, Miller said. Even if you have been voting at one polling precinct for years, make sure to confirm where you are voting this year by checking your county board of elections’ website. Links to all of the county boards of election in Ohio are available on the secretary of state’s website.
On Tuesday, voting starts at 6:30 a.m., and the polls close at 7:30 p.m.
Some local, national organizations offering free or discounted rides
If it’s not safe to walk and driving isn’t in the cards, people wanting to vote in person still have ways to access the polls come Tuesday.
The Central Ohio Transit Authority said it will waive all fares on Election Day, so voters can ride to and from their polling locations at no cost. COTA riders will avoid fares on fixed-route buses, COTA’s “Mainstream” services, and COTA Plus, according to a press release.
More information about COTA routes is available here.
Rideshare application Lyft is also offering discounted rides across the country through a promotional code, according to a Lyft spokesperson. Code “VOTE22” will grant riders 50% off — or up to $10 in discounts — on rideshares, bike rides, and scooter rides to their polling locations.
Miller said paid rideshares cater to people who have a smartphone, a credit card, and a familiarity with the app. “That’s not going to serve everyone,” she said.
Some nonprofit political organizations — including locally-based Columbus Stand Up and national RideShare2Vote — have also advertised offering rides to and from in-person voting in Franklin County. More information about Columbus Stand Up is available here and RideShare2Vote is available here.
If it comes down to the wire, Griffin recommended you call your county board of elections, which can be a resource for any sort of election-related issues on Tuesday.