Cell Phone Calls Banned In County Polling Places

Voters must ignore that ringing cellular phone while casting ballots inside Ohio County polling locations.

And they also shouldn’t be texting or calling family members for advice as they stand at the voting machines, election officers note.

Signs have been placed outside the early voting location at the City-County Building in Wheeling, informing voters that cell phone use is prohibited at the polls.

Pollworkers there said it isn’t unusual for a voter to answer a ringing cell phone while at their voting machine, and their actions don’t stop there.

“We even had a young girl call her father while she was voting – to ask him how she should vote,” said Toni Chieffalo, coordinator of elections in Ohio County.

She said the signs were more of a pro-active response as cell phone usage has become prevalent in society.

West Virginia election laws prohibit the use of any electronic devices inside the polls.

Across the river in Belmont County, elections Director William Shubat said the issue of cell phone use among voters at the polls hasn’t yet become an issue.

He noted, though, high school students are recruited to work at the polls there, and they are instructed not to text or use their cell phones during their Election Day duties. And Shubat questions whether voters should be prohibited from using their cell phones.

“They are allowed to bring someone to assist them at the polls,” he said. “I would assume the same though would allow cell phones in the same context.”

Shubat said Thursday he would contact the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office for their opinion on the matter. Messages left with that office by Thursday.

Diane Gribble, director of elections in Jefferson County, said cell phone use by voters at the polls “was not an issue yet,” but she expected it soon could be.

“We haven’t experienced any problems yet,” said Sylvia Benzo, Brooke County clerk. “But since you asked, I’m sure it is coming.”