A retired Roman Catholic priest, the Rev. Victor Cimperman, 90, who lives next to St. Vitus Church where he voted in Cleveland, said he had no problems with the paper ballots. "To me, it doesn't make any difference as long as you follow instructions," he said.
Acy Streeter, 51, who also voted in Cleveland, said the fill-the-oval ballots were simple. "All you have to do is blacken the oval under the candidate," she said.
Election officials around the state said voting was generally smooth and polling sites were busy despite heavy rain, sleet and hail. There were isolated instances of temporary delays getting polling sites running, but lines of voters mostly moved quickly.
In Cuyahoga County, voters used their third voting system in recent years: punch-cards abandoned in 2005; then a touch-screen system that highlighted poll-worker training issues; and an old-fashioned fill-in-the-oval paper-ballot system debuting Tuesday.
Jane Platten, Cuyahoga County elections director, reported one early problem: a polling place in suburban Richmond Heights that opened late.
In Madison in Lake County, located northeast of Cleveland, a bomb threat halted voting at a school for about 1½ hours. Voters were cleared out, and the school was placed under lockdown while authorities searched with a bomb-sniffing dog but found nothing.
While the polling location was shut down, election officials kept a list of people who showed up hoping to vote. All 14 agreed to return later.
Karla Herron, board of elections director in Union County northwest of Columbus, said there had been strong turnout but only about 1 percent of voters requested paper ballots. The county lost a lawsuit seeking to block the paper ballot requirement.
Virginia Price, director of the Putnam County elections board in northwest Ohio, said only a handful of voters had asked for a paper ballot alternative. "It's not a big deal," she said.
That also was the case in Dayton, said Stephen Harsman, director of the Montgomery County Board of Elections. "We've been tracking that all day, and people really aren't choosing paper ballots. I think either they don't know about it or they just have confidence in the touch screens," he said.
In Franklin County, all polling places opened on time, including one in Columbus at the Ohio State School for the Blind, where the electricity was out and voting machines operated on backup power, county elections board spokesman Ben Piscitelli said.
In Toledo, Lucas County elections board director Jill Kelly said two polling-place presiding judges failed to show up on time with election supplies.
"If you don't have that, you can't start the party," Kelly said.