Certifying local candidates and issues for the May primary and an investigation was on the agenda Thursday during the Fayette County Board of Elections meeting.
The board meeting opened with a welcome to the new board of elections deputy director, Karla Morrison, who was selected to fill the position Feb. 2. Morrison replaces Jamie Brooks, who retired from the position of deputy director in January.
Present at the meeting were board members Robin Beekman, Myron Priest, Dan Roberts, along with director Beth Ann Snyder, Morrison, and Jess Weade, Fayette County Prosecutor.
The board moved through a lengthy discussion over correspondence, old business and new business.
The board received correspondence from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office indicating that the county can use state funding to purchase e-poll books. The Fayette County Board of Elections will implement the use of the e-poll books in time for the May primary election. The board will receive e-poll book equipment by Feb. 15 at which time training will begin with all precinct poll workers.
Correspondence was received in regards to a ballot initiative for a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution. The proposed Ohio constitutional amendment seeks to adopt the Ohio Crime Victims Bill of Rights. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office has been asked to review the language of the proposed amendment.
In old business, the board said there has been no update from the Ross County Board of Elections on the voter who attempted to vote twice on Election Day. The voter reportedly cast a provisional ballot in Ross County, but was still registered in Fayette County and drove to Fayette County to cast a ballot in person. The board of elections offices in both counties confirmed that only one of the individual’s votes counted. The board said they are waiting to hear back from the Ross County Prosecutor’s Office on the matter.
In a separate incident, the board is continuing to investigate a man who voted provisionally but reportedly gave the wrong address. A person returned the confirmation mailer received at an address that the man had used when he voted with a provisional ballot at the Fayette County Board of Elections for the general election. According to the person who returned the mailer to the board’s office, the man does not live at the address he voted with. The board has since tried to find the man, but have been unsuccessful in locating him. The board said the phone number he gave was connected to a church in Dayton.
Weade said there is a process the board can take to either move to strike the man’s name from voter roll or the board can continue to try to locate the man’s whereabouts, notify him and hold a hearing.
The board discussed that since they cannot locate or contact the man, they may not be able to notify him of a hearing if they decide to go that route.
Roberts said he will investigate the man’s whereabouts further and try to determine where he is so that the board may try to contact him to hold a hearing. Beekman said Roberts has enough time to continue to investigate the whereabouts of the man, as the board will have time to strike the man’s name from the voter roll before the May primary if he is unfounded.
Moving on to new business, the board carried a motion to certify the following judicial candidates and local issues for the May primary election:
There will be two Republican judicial candidates on the May primary ballot. Victor Pontious, Jr., the current Washington C.H. Municipal Court Judge, is being challenged by public defense attorney, Susan Wollscheid, for the municipal court judge position.
The ADAMH (Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services) issue will be on the ballot. This is a county-wide issue for everyone to vote on.
For people who live within the Village of New Holland, an issue will be on the ballot for a 2.5-mill levy for operating and maintaining the community center.
For people who live in Union Township, an issue will be on the ballot to replace a five-year, 1-mill tax levy for the services of the fire department.
For people who live in the Miami Trace Local School District, an issue will be on the ballot to renew and decrease a five-year, 3.2-mill tax levy for the purpose of the school’s operating budget in order to avoid an operating deficit.
The board discussed that all poll worker evaluations are completed. A motion was passed to approve all of the evaluations with the intention to address one poll worker on secrecy of ballots.
There was some discussion about the poll worker in question. A voter complained to the board of elections that the poll worker stood too close to her when she was voting and inserting her ballot during the general election, and when the voting machine beeped, the poll worker yelled out something to the effect of, “Well you did not vote for the office of…” which was overheard by most other people in the room. The voter was concerned for her voter privacy. The board made a note on that the poll worker’s evaluation and documents will reflect the action.
The board passed a motion to retain all poll workers. The county has approximately 150 election officials who work throughout the 25 precincts in the county during elections.
The next board of elections meeting will take place Thursday, March 2 at 10 a.m. at the Fayette County Board of Elections.
Reach Ashley at (740) 313-0355 or on Twitter @ashbunton