Board confident in its preparations for March election


By Kyle Shaner - kshaner@sidneydailynews.com



SIDNEY – Officials from the Shelby County Board of Elections have tested voting equipment and are confident they’re ready for the March 17 primary election.

The Board of Elections is required to complete logic and accuracy testing of its equipment prior to the election. With help from Dan Shebasta from Election Systems & Software, Director Pam Kerrigan and Deputy Director Donnie Chupp tested the county’s equipment over a two-day period.

“We feel confident whatever issues we had the first day were resolved,” Kerrigan said during a monthly Board of Elections meeting Friday morning.

After a scheduled mock election with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office was canceled, Kerrigan and Chupp conducted their own mock election with 1,400 ballots and reported the equipment worked as intended.

They also said Ohio doesn’t use an app like Iowa to report election results and are confident in their ability to report results accurately and efficiently.

Additionally, Kerrigan and Chupp worked with John Medcalf from VOTEC to review Shelby County’s electronic pollbook machines and address issues that arose.

“I feel like we’re in good shape with them at this point,” Kerrigan said.

As a backup to the electronic pollbooks, each voting location will have a hard copy of voter registration information. The county also has nine additional VOTEC machines that could be sent out to voting locations if any machines were to malfunction.

For election night, Kerrigan suggested board members should rotate their duties and learn other members’ responsibilities. Members understanding all the board’s responsibilities would make them better prepared to handle any issues that may arise.

“Today is a prime example: Mr. Thompson’s not here because he’s sick,” Kerrigan said, referencing Board of Elections member Jim Thompson, who missed Friday’s meeting with an illness. “That’s such a short notice thing so I guess in the interest of more cross training I think we need the board members to be able to do that as well, especially on election night.”

The board will finalize their election night duties during a training session on March 14, the Saturday before the primary election.

Board member Douglas Pence suggested having deputies from the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office at the Board of Elections office on election night. There haven’t been issues in the past, but the board agreed they should be prepared for any problems they could face.

Chairman Jim Kerg suggested having a deputy at the entrance where workers deliver results from precincts and another in the area where the public gathers to receive results.

The deadline for the Board of Elections to certify results from the March primary will be April 7. The Shelby County board decided to meet at 10 a.m. March 30 to certify primary election results and at 10 a.m. April 6 to complete an audit of the election.

Kerrigan and Chupp reported they’re setting up Facebook and Twitter accounts for the Shelby County Board of Elections, as required by the secretary of state. The social media sites would be used to send out emergency communications. The board will continue to use newspaper, radio and television outlets to disseminate information as well.

Board member Merrill Asher requested the Board of Elections increase what it charges people for printed copies and mail out labels.

The board previously charged 10 cents per copy for 8.5 inch by 11 inch documents and 8.5 inch by 14 inch documents, 20 cents for 11 inch by 14 inch documents and 30 cents for mail out labels.

Asher said the board hadn’t increased its rates in several years and other places such as the UPS Store charge more, such as 20 cents for an 8.5 inch by 11 inch document.

“We should be in line with our actual costs of doing business,” Asher said. “We’re not here to make a profit off of anything, but we do need to recoup our costs.”

After a discussion, the board agreed to charge 20 cents for 8.5 inch by 11 inch documents and 8.5 inch by 14 inch documents, 40 cents for 11 inch by 14 inch documents and $1 for mail out labels.

Information still can be accessed online free of charge.

The deadline to register for Ohio’s March 17 primary is 9 p.m. Tuesday, and early voting will begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday. Eligible voters can register online, by mail and in-person.

For more information on registering to vote, visit http://bit.ly/39EFo8R or call the Shelby County Board of Elections at 937-498-7207.

By Kyle Shaner

kshaner@sidneydailynews.com

Reach this writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.

Reach this writer at kshaner@sidneydailynews.com or 937-538-4824.