MIAMI COUNTY —The Miami County Board of Elections met in special session Tuesday afternoon to certify the May 2 special election, unanimously approving the certification.
Prior to that, the board approved 10 provisional ballots. There were 12 submitted, but two people who submitted provisional ballots were not registered to vote.
A representative from the West Milton Rotary Club also spoke in front of the board during their meeting. Up until the May 2 special election, the board contracted with the rotary to deliver all of the voting machines to and from each of the precincts during every election for the past 10 years.
For the May 2 special election, the board received a lower bid from Lewis and Michael Moving and Storage, Inc. to deliver the voting machines, and the board approved contracting with Lewis and Michael at a cost of $2,320. The rotary submitted a higher quote of $3,480.
Larry Dehus of the rotary spoke about how this contract was a fundraiser for the rotary. “We pour all that money back into the community,” Dehus said.
He mentioned some of the different donations that they give out, including to local principals’ funds for students in need of items like shoes, food packets for children to get food on the weekend, scholarships, and more.
“We respect the fact that we need to be competitive,” Dehus said. He said that the rotary wanted the board to know about the “added value” of contracting with them. “The money stays in the community,” Dehus said.
The board thanked Dehus for coming and speaking during their meeting.
Also during their meeting, the board discussed a directive from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, which is looking into the need for and estimated costs of new voting equipment in all of Ohio’s counties.
Miami County’s voting machines are approximately 12 years old. The county has 400 of them and uses around 360 of them in a general election.
“These machines are old,” Chairperson Dave Fisher said.
Board member Ryan King agreed with Fisher that this was an issue that they needed to consider.
“We don’t run the risk of the elections being wrong. We run the risks of lines and inconvenience,” King said. “It’s good to start the discussion.”
Fisher also added that the board could look into going back to optical scanners, noting that returning to paper ballots would give the board a “paper trail.”
“I’m a firm believer in a true paper trail,” Fisher said.
The directive instructs the board to discuss their need with the county commissioners prior to June 1, and then to submit a “Statement of Need” to the Secretary of State’s Office by June 13.
The directive gives all of the county boards the following guidelines when considering new voting equipment:
• Each polling location and absentee voting location must have at least one ADA-accessible voting unit
• Each county should acquire at least one high-speed optical scanner for the processing of absentee ballots, and they also recommend that a county have at least one high-speed optical scanner for each 75,000 registered voters
• If a voting system uses a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touchscreen interface as its primary voting unit, each county much acquire at least one unit per 175 registered voters (minus the number of absentee ballots cast and counted in the last presidential election)
• If a voting system is an optical scan-based system, each county must acquire at least one precinct-based optical scanner per precinct
• Each county must have some form of ballot-on-demand capability for use at the board’s office
Later during their meeting, the board approved paying dues to the Ohio Association of Election Officials in the amount of approximately $1,551
The board also went into executive session for the purposes of employee and employment issues during their meeting. The board did not take any action pertaining to their executive session.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336