On Monday, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose visited the Fayette County Board of Elections (BOE) to meet with staff, board members and county commissioners to discuss various topics.
LaRose and his staff are visiting board of elections offices in all 88 counties in Ohio. The BOE in Fayette County was LaRose’s 66th visit.
Some of the topics covered included updates, what the Fayette County Board of Elections is doing with current election equipment, to discuss future potential, and LaRose’s intent to work together with local BOEs.
LaRose and his staff first introduced themselves, then sat for a conversation with everyone over cookies and juice courtesy of the board of elections chairperson, Robin Beekman.
Following the initial conversation, LaRose asked for questions and then a tour was given. The tour included discussions on how the building is set-up, how staff organizes their various responsibilities, older equipment that is no longer in use and newer equipment that will be used for the first time in this year’s general election.
LaRose pointed out several details the public may not be aware of, such as how the Board of Elections is a bi-partisan entity. The offices must have two Democrats and two Republicans working in it.
Much of the election equipment is even kept in a room that has two locks—one Democrat key and one Republican key.
“No Ohioan should doubt that their vote will be recorded accurately,” said LaRose.
Machines are kept offline and precise methods are taken to ensure viruses do not corrupt the system that tabulates the votes.
Staff explained to him that they have been told their visitors have not been able to tell which political party they individually belong to, which LaRose complimented as being a good thing.
“We have to lead by example in Ohio,” he said.
According to LaRose, secretaries of other states ask him for tips or advice.
The discussion of attempting to get people to vote came up.
LaRose said, “For someone who’s voting for the first time, it’s intimidating.”
In an attempt to help people get comfortable with voting, programs are being set up in schools throughout Ohio that use a voting simulation for things such as voting for homecoming queen and king. This includes filling out a ballot, scanning it into a machine and then receiving the “I Voted” sticker.
“Your team is doing it right here—it’s organized,” said LaRose. “You should be proud of that.”
Reach Jennifer Woods at 740-313-0355.