This fall the citizens of Franklin County should vote in Nationwide Arena.

As we saw in the spring primaries, there is huge confusion about where our citizens can vote.  The shabby, little-known, woefully inadequate voting center on Morse Road is a  shameful disgrace to our democracy.  With the Pandemic we will not have the ability to staff and maintain the usual wide range of neighborhood voting facilities that have been traditionally spread around the county.  

Instead, as will be done in Atlanta, our largest indoor sports arena offers an ideal alternative.  Should we opt for two locations, the Schottenstein Center on campus might also be used.  

Nationwide Arena is owned by the public.  The decision to use it for the fall election can be made by city council, in concert with the county election board.

Nationwide is secure, safe and centrally located.  It has plenty of parking.  Everybody knows where it is. 

The Atlanta Hawks have shown the way by offering their 21,000-seat Arena to serve as their county's central voting location this fall.  It's a generous idea full of genius.  As in Atlanta, our own Nationwide Arena has plenty of public parking.  The lot can accommodate ballot drop boxes with ample capacity, and plenty of room to set up drive-by voting facilities.

The parking area at Nationwide (as at the Schottenstein Arena) can be easily secured, and weapons can be banned from the inside, eliminating anticipated threats from gun-toting vigilantes aiming to intimate voters.  

Central Ohioans who don't want to mail in or deposit their ballots in drop boxes, or who need to come in personally, will no longer be forced to stand in lines.  They can check in at the door and get a number.  They can sit with masks and safe social distancing anywhere in the arena.  The scoreboard can flash their number when their turn comes to vote. 

Both central Ohio arenas are big enough to accommodate all county precincts. The scoreboards can direct every voter to the correct precinct tables within the facility.  

Once marked and completed by the voter, the ballots can stay where they are.  Protection and counting will be far more secure.  Vote by Mail ballots can be mailed directly to the arena, can be dropped into the boxes in the parking lot, or can be carried in personally.  Thus all Franklin County ballots can be easily secured in a single centralized location, a tremendous improvement from previous years, and from this spring's primary fiasco.  

Bus and personal pickup services can be provided to voters who need it.  Within Nationwide and/or the Schott, there'll be plenty of places to sit, with the ability to access work areas and rest rooms while wearing masks.  Passcode for internet services can be posted on the scoreboards.  Food service outlets can also be in business. 

Central Ohio voters should now be empowered to vote without being hammered by long lines, bad weather and harassment from bad actors. 

US Senator Elizabeth Warren has proposed making November 3 a national holiday.  But Franklin County could declare one even if the feds don't, and let our citizens vote without losing a day's pay.  The arenas could also be kept open the Saturday, Sunday and Monday before Tuesday's election day, giving everyone ample time to get their ballot in. 

Ohio's voting experiences has too often been a travesty.  Huge lines and terrible weather have for many years made the Buckeye voting experience more of an ordeal than a celebration of democracy.

Franklin County should now join Atlanta in using our biggest downtown public facility to make America's most critical citizen's duty into a joyous, patriotic celebration of democracy. 

Central Ohio deserves no less.  See you at Nationwide November 3!