Board receives report of campaining at polls

SIDNEY —The Shelby County Board of Elections received a report of potential campaigning at the fairgrounds polling location during the Nov. 8 general election from a polling election official (PEO). The report was received by Director Pamela Kerrigan, verbally, on the day following the election. According to the PEO, an individual was seen potentially campaigning withing the 100-foot limitation placed around the polling locations. Upon receiving this report, Kerrigan contacted the Secretary of State’s office to ask how the board should proceed. The suggestion of the Secretary of State’s office was to bring the report to the county prosecutor’s office. The board agrees with the suggestion of the Secretary of State and voted to send the report to the county prosecutor to further look into the issue.

For full disclosure, Board Chairperson James Kerg made it clear that he was present at the fairgrounds polling location and will likely be asked to make a statement for the county prosecutor.

The Shelby County Board of Elections mainly met for the purpose of auditing the Nov. 8 general election results for the governor and lieutenant governor, U.S. Senator and state issue one from precincts 23, eight and one.

The board had three teams of two polling election officials each, one Republican and one Democrat per team, at the meeting Monday morning to help audit the results. In total, the polling election officials hand-counted 1,273 ballots to confirm the numbers received from the voting machines on election day.

The Shelby County Board of Elections successfully completed their audit of the Nov. 8, 2022, general election. The results of the audit will be sent by Kerrigan to the Secretary of State’s office Monday afternoon.

In other business, the board discussed the process of recruiting a new deputy director and E-Poll book delivery, payment and training.

As previously advertised, the deadline for applications for the position of deputy director was Monday at noon. As of the meeting Monday morning, the board had received two complete applications from potential candidates with a third supposedly being turned in Monday before the deadline. The board has not begun the interview process with either candidates.

Also on the agenda was E-poll book delivery, payment and training.In September, the County Commissioners entered into a contract to replace the VOTEC polling machines with new ES&S polling systems. Booking the replacements early allowed the county to lock in the price so that the cost does not change as the price of the system is expected to increase in 2023. Early booking also allowed the county to ensure delivery by the first election of 2023.

The indicated delivery date is the week of Jan. 16, 2023, after which payment is expected and the warranty begins. The training of PEOs on the new voting systems are tentatively expected to begin in March 2023, one month before the start of early voting for the May primary election, but could start sooner as the new systems are expected in the middle of January.

According to Kerrigan, because the board requested funds for the new systems during 2022, they have the funds available in the 2022 budget to pay off a large portion of the cost of the new systems. Under the suggestion of Kerg, Kerrigan will take the information regarding the potential to use 2022 funds to pay for a portion of the voting system to the County Commissioners and the auditor to determine if they would approve the board using 2022 funds.

By Amantha Garpiel

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