SIDNEY — Shelby County Board of Elections has just completed a year of significant changes in terms of leadership and operational processes.
In March 2019, the Secretary of State appointed two new board members to the local election authority. James Kerg Jr. was appointed and subsequently elected chairman by the local board. Kerg is a Sidney resident, area manufacturer and has served as a Sidney City councilman and vice mayor.
Lifelong Shelby County resident Douglas Pence, a retired Xerox Corp executive and community activist, joined the board as well in March. In September, long time Board member Charles Craynon retired and was replaced with the appointment of James Thompson. Thompson is a retired chief deputy of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office and has served a variety of leadership positions with several community service organizations. Merrill Asher, a 12-year board member, was also reappointed by Secretary of State Frank LaRose in March to serve an additional four-year term. Asher has served on both the Sidney City Council and Sidney City Schools Board of Education.
Kerg’s report continues:
In concert with these leadership changes, the local Board and staff undertook and achieved three monumental tasks this past year. The board’s primary role and responsibility is to securely and accurately operate both the voter registration and election voting systems throughout Shelby County. Neither of these systems had been upgraded or modernized over the past decade primarily due to a lack of resources.
With the action and support of both the Ohio legislature and Shelby County Commissioners, the board was able to implement and activate new state of the art registration and voting systems in Shelby County this past summer. These new capabilities were tested and certified in the process of executing three elections within the county in 2019. Along with these fundamental upgrades, the board was additionally tasked with bringing our operations into compliance with new physical and cyber security standards established by the Department of Homeland Security.
As a result of these efforts, the Shelby County Board of Elections was recognized as one of Ohio’s top five counties on security implementation at a recent elections security conference in Columbus. These accomplishments would not have been possible without the dedication and teamwork of our members, staff, vendors, state and county elected officials.
The 2016 elections set new records for Shelby County in terms of voter registration and turn-out. The Board anticipates that record will likely be broken again in the 2020 election cycles. Voters are reminded that registration closes thirty days prior to each election and early voting at the Board offices can be exercised thirty days prior to Election Day.
Key election dates in 2020 include Ohio’s primary election to be held on March 17 and the general election slated for November 3. In addition to managing a very busy set of election cycles, the Board will be conducting a year-long effort at reviewing and refining our internal operational policies and procedures.
We look to enhance our legal compliance with election laws and modernize our abilities to serve the voting public. Public input on these efforts is always welcome at our monthly Board meetings, typically held the third Monday of each month.