Board certifies May election

Voting incident turned over to prosecutor’s office

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — The results of the May 8 election were certified by the Shelby County Board of Elections Monday morning. The board also asked the Shelby County Prosecutor’s Office to investigate how a person was able to vote twice in the election.

Before certifying the election, the board reviewed absentee and provisional ballots which had irregularities. They reviewed 10 absentee ballots and 79 provisional ballots.

Eight of the absentee ballots — three which were received on time (postmarked before the deadline) and four which were received after the deadline but the postmark wasn’t legible and one ballot that was torn when it was being processed and had to be remade — were all accepted. The board rejected two ballots — one that was postmarked on the May 8, which was after the required deadline, and one that had no signature on the identification envelope.

There were 59 provisional ballots in which the person had moved within Shelby County but hadn’t changed their address with the board office or the person’s name wasn’t a match for how they were registered to vote. All 50 were accepted.

Another two provisional ballots were approved. Those two voters had moved to a different precinct but didn’t change where they voted. The ballots were remade.

The board also accepted seven provisional ballots where the person was registered in another county and their registration was updated in Shelby County. Because they didn’t vote in their former place of residence, the board OK’d the ballots.

Another provisional ballot was approved because on election day, the M100 scanner couldn’t read the ballot. It was remade.

One ballot discussed dealt the person voting at the wrong precinct. The person was given a ballot and it ran through the M100 scanner instead of being put aside as a provisional ballot.

Nine provisional ballots were rejected because the potential voters were not registered to vote. Some had registered after the deadline.

With the addition of the provisional and absentee ballots, the results of the local election didn’t change.

Local option Sunday wine sales in Sidney 2D received three additional yes votes after the election was certified. It was approved by a vote of 115 to 62.

The Jackson Center Local School District income tax received an additional 11 yes votes and one no vote. The final tally was 265 for the tax and 178 against it.

The board discussed some election day irregularities which occurred. One of which was the person who voted twice.

Donnie Chupp, deputy director, said he has completed his research on the incident.

“We spotted it when there was one more ballot than was checked in,” said Chupp. “The individual had two ballots — a Republican one and a Democratic one. He was given both ballots in one location. He received two voter slips — one from one kiosk and one from another one.”

The incident happened at one of the precincts located at the Shelby County Fairgrounds, said Chupp.

“The check in time was less than a minute apart,” said Chupp. “We’re discovered that there’s a lag time in the check-in time of 30 to 40 seconds. I’ve talked to Votec and told them they need to reduce the lag time. I’m hoping that it’s taken care of by the November election.”

Board Chairman Chris Gibbs said he is confused on how one person could check in twice when the check-in table is two tables long and there are two people sitting there.

“The check-in stations are less than 3 feet apart,” said Gibbs. “There had to be something else going on.”

Board member Merrill Asher questioned how the person could get two voter slips and how no one in the individual precinct stopped him from voting twice.

“I talked with the presiding judge and they said they might have been in the bathroom and to call someone else,” said Chupp.

“I called another worker,” said Director Pam Kerrigan, “and they had no recollection of the incident.”

Gibbs said the board nor staff members are are “investigative body. So I recommend we refer the case to the prosecutor’s office.”

He said he wasn’t jumping to any conclusions about the incident but felt the board needed “due diligence” concerning the incident.

“We need to refer the matter and let the chips fall as they may,” said Gibbs.

Board member Jon Baker asked which party the individual should be affiliated with since he voted both parties.

“I don’t know,” said Gibbs.

“We checked him in as a Republican because that’s the first ballot he requested,” said Chupp.

Other issues dealing with the May 8 election included:

• No one unlocking the Orange Township building. “We discovered we had the key and it was our responsibility to unlock it,” said Chupp.

“That’s how it’s been handled in the past,” said Kerrigan, who was overseeing her first election as director.

• Learned a rover didn’t have an e-pollbook at a precinct in time for the start of the election at 6:30 a.m. Poll workers used paper signatures until the e-pollbook arrived.

“All precincts opened on time,” said Chupp.

Asher said he heard a person received a right to vote slip before 6:30 a.m. and questioned whether the person voted before the polls officially opened.

“I don’t know if they voted before 6:30 a.m.,” said Chupp.

Gibbs said the expectations on both the board of election and the people the board leases space from on election day should be clear.

“We need to ensure they understand what our expectations are and we know what their expectations are,” said Gibbs. “Trustees come and go. We have a good relationship with the township trustees and all the polling locations. We just need to touch base with them before the next election.”

The board agreed that some of the problems on election day related to training for the precinct workers. They will look into holding more training prior to the November election.

In other business, the board:

• Reviewed overtime and compensation hours of staff members. Gibbs said the hours have gone up, which isn’t a surprise since there has been a change in leadership at the office and additional training has been needed. “The next order of business for Pam is to get a policy for comp time and make sure we’re calculating it correctly.”

• Agreed to have the staff meet with key individuals involved in the May election to discuss the election and determine training needs.

• Agreed a June board meeting is not needed as board members will be attending the summer conference for board of elections.

• Learned Democracy Live and Triad will be giving presentations to the staff on June 6 concerning election services.

Voting incident turned over to prosecutor’s office

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.