DHI Media Correspondent

VAN WERT — Van Wert County Board of Elections Director Linda Stutz is “very angry” about the allegation by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that the election is going to be rigged at the polling sites.

“We check, recheck and triple check everything,” Stutz said noting that if something seems off, it is thoroughly checked.

Stutz said someone “popping off all the time about the election being rigged” doesn’t help when some people are already leery of the process.

Deb Sneddon, deputy director of the Mercer County Board of Elections, did not feel comfortable commenting on what she called “unsubstantiated claims” but did add the following statement.

“I assure people your votes are being counted fairly and freely and we are not hooked up to the Internet at all. Officials all over are working hard to make sure the election is conducted in a free and fair manner,” she said. Sneddon also reminded voters just exactly who the poll workers are, saying they are “your neighbors, friends, your mother, your in-laws. These are people you can trust.”

Van Wert County early voting is booming, Stutz said, noting that last Friday, they were swamped. She also anticipates the number of early voting will go up to 7,000, 2,000 more than the previous presidential election.

Stutz said that they were getting a lot of new voters.

Mercer County is also seeing increased early voting, something Sneddon appreciates as she believes strongly in early voting.

Stutz also outlined the safeguards built into the election process.

“A lot of the safeguards are such things as actually having to register,” Stutz said. “This prevents just anyone going in to vote without recognizing that they are a United States citizen. It is a very simple process as all that is asked is name, address, date of birth, drivers license number or Social Security number (last four digits). Once this is done, a person is then able to cast their vote.”

“When a person goes into vote, they have to show a type of ID such as a drivers license or some other picture ID or a utility bill, military ID or bank statement, government check, paycheck or other government document,” she added. “This prevents someone else from using their name, etc. to vote. All poll workers are asked to check this and if the information is already in their books to verify that it is the correct number, etc. A voter must also be 18 years of age and a resident of Ohio for at least 30 days prior to the election and have registered at least the same 30 days prior.”

All of the voting machines are also checked for logic and accuracy. Every machine is checked to ensure voters know that his or her ballot is correct. And the machines do provide a paper trail.

Early voting continues until 2 p.m. Nov. 7.

Stutz encourages all voters to contact their local board if there are any questions about the voting or registration process.