Board prepares for ‘Primary Election’

By Melanie Speicher -

SIDNEY — Final preparations were discussed for the March 17 Primary Election, which will be counted Tuesday, April 28.

Members of the Shelby County Board of Elections met Monday morning to discuss the absentee ballot only election which will decide who the next Shelby County sheriff will be. Sidney City Schools voters will also decide on whether or not to approve a 7.3 mill emergency property tax levy.

The election was postponed from March until April 28 because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

According to Jim Kerg, chair, the board of election’s three full time employees along with four polling election officials have been processing the requests for absentee ballots, mailing out the ballots and scanning the ballots received. All absentee ballots will be tallied after 7:30 p.m. on April 28.

Persons who still have their ballots can mail them to the board of elections. All envelopes must be postmarked by Monday, April 27.

All requests for absentee ballots must be made by noon Saturday, April 25. The board will keep track of all requests that are received after the noon deadline.

In office ballots must be received by 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 28, in the secured box by the front entrance of the board of elections. Those with a disability may vote at the office on Tuesday, April 28.

A daily report is sent to the Secretary of States Office detailing how many ballot requests were received, how many were sent out and how many were received.

“The staff is well tuned to the requirements of the Secretary of State to process and daily reporting of the information.”

Director Pam Kerrigan said the daily figures are sent to the Secretary of State’s Office by 5 p.m. each day.

“We’re doing our best to accommodate that,” said Kerrigan.

Both Kerrigan and Deputy Director Donnie Chupp said numerous trips are made to the post office each day with ballots to be mailed to those who have requested one.

“If we get them in the daytime, the ballots go out the same day,” said Chupp. “After 5 pm., they go out first thing the next morning.”

Procedures on Election Night were also discussed. To keep to the 10 person limit for gatherings, the board opted to not allow anyone beside board of election officials in the office Tuesday night. Results will be posted on their website once the final totals have been tallied. Precinct-by-precinct results will be available Wednesday.

“We’re taking things day-by-day,” said Kerrigan. “We never know who many requests we’ll receive in the mail.”

The board also discussed the funding from the Secretary of State’s Office for additional funding related to the March 17 Primary. Ohio Legislature allocated $7 million for Ohio’s 88 board of elections. Shelby County received $10,000, which has already been used for items such as making and mailing out the ballots. The board will keep track of all additional costs and submit them to the Secretary of State’s Office for possible payment.

The board also approved the purchase of USB drives to serve as backups for the USBs the board already has. The USBs serve as back ups for the voting equipment at the poling locations.

Also approved were the bills that have been filled for audit.

The board’s next meeting will be Tuesday, April 28, at 6:25 a.m. The board will then recess until they come back into session at 7:25 p.m.

The official canvass of the election will be held Monday, May 11, at 10 a.m.

“I’m proud of all our full time staff and polling election officials,” said Kerg. “Historically, this is a different aspect of an Election Day in Ohio.”

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writr at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writr at 937-538-4822.