AKRON - There is some concern over who may have had access to the Summit County Board of Elections, and for how long on the Columbus Day holiday.
Kellie Patterson found the building unlocked on Monday when it was supposed to be closed to the public.
By Monday evening, the sign on the door read “Closed for Columbus Day”, but the sign wasn’t there when Patterson walked in.
The door was open. Unlocked.
Patterson says she had access to the whole building.
It got her thinking if she, and at least 2 others she knows of, waltzed right in, who else could have?
She was there to drop some paperwork off. Patterson is running for Cuyahoga Falls School Board. She says a gentleman in the parking lot told her he had been inside, but no one was there.
Patterson then walks straight through the door with him.
"I said, 'Oh Yeah! That's right.' It’s Columbus Day and it dawned on me then. So we started yelling 'Hello! Hello?' And nobody came. I didn't know what to do at that point. Being it was a holiday, the office numbers went unanswered needless to say. So I called the police, says Patterson.
She says Akron Police and someone from the BOE showed up and locked up the building.
"Anybody could have walked in there and done anything they wanted. I could have hopped the counter. I could have gone back,” says Patterson.
WKYC Channel 3 News verified with Akron Police that they did get a call and that they responded just before 11 a.m. Monday.
We weren't able to get in touch with anyone from the Board of Elections on Monday to find out how long the building may have been unlocked. We left messages on social media, plus email and voice mails for the Summit County Board of Elections, but no one called back.
"While I was there a cable guy showed up and he informed the board member that he had walked in through the whole building looking for somebody. Apparently he was there for a repair and did roam the building. In both of our cases, it was kind of innocent but it could have turned out much worse if someone who had ill intentions had been aware of it,” says Patterson.
“It was a simple mistake that was made. The human side of me understands mistakes happen. And the voter side of me was a little freaked out that all that information including maybe ballots was accessible," says Patterson.
There are surveillance cameras on that front door. Maybe the BOE will be taking a look to make sure no one else was inside who shouldn't have been.
WKYC Channel 3 thought it was worth looking into. We’ll update this article when we hear back from the BOE.
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