Bad behavior during early voting has necessitated law enforcement presence at polls

Belmont County

BELMONT COUNTY, Ohio (WTRF) Some people coming to the Belmont County Election headquarters for early voting have flaunted the rules and disrespected elections employees.

Their behavior has prompted officials to hire deputies to be on-site “every minute the office is open.”

Election Board Chairman Michael Shaheen says some voters become irate when asked to wear a mask.

One man became so angry, he threw his ballot at an elderly poll worker.

“This woman is one of the loveliest people I’ve ever met in my life,” said Shaheen. “And this man was so enraged, he threw his ballot at her.”

He said by law, they must allow every eligible voter to cast their ballot, but when a person refuses to wear a mask, everything has to stop while that person is accommodated, while everyone else waits in line.

“If some selfish, self-centered individual comes in and refuses to wear a mask, we have to clear the room, let them vote, then sanitize the entire room before anyone else is allowed to come in,” Shaheen said.

He said other people refuse to abide by the rule that prohibits political ads or slogans on the property.

He said they become agitated and belligerent when asked to remove their hat or campaign pin, or to cover their T-shirt.

Shaheen said the election board has hired deputies in the past, but only for traffic control and to help people in and out.

He said surly behavior is something new.

“I realize this is a hotly contested election, especially at the presidential level,” he noted. “I love the passion. But that’s not what this is about. I hope every eligible voter comes and votes. We’ll handle the crowd. Just be kind to everybody. Be mutually respectful.“

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