By Sam Wildow
TROY — The Miami County Board of Elections on Tuesday approved a pay increase for precinct election officials (PEO) and voting location managers (VLM) by a vote of 3-0. Board member Jim Oda abstained from voting.
The pay increase, which will go to the Miami County Commissioners for approval, will be effective next year and not for this coming election.
Director Laura Bruns first brought a pay increase before the board that would align with the minimum wage, increasing the base pay for PEOs from $124 to $130.50 for the 14.5-hour Election Day shifts. Board member Audrey Gillespie then made the motion to increase the base pay for PEOs from $124 to $150, saying she was “embarrassed how low we pay.” Gillespie also made the motion to increase the base pay for VLMs and deputy VLMs to $175.
“They’re a very important piece of the puzzle,” Bruns said about poll workers. She said earlier that most poll workers don’t do the work for the pay.
Chairman Dave Fisher seconded Gillespie’s motion, saying, “I’ve always said the VLMs and deputy VLMs and PEOs always are unpaid. It’s a long day.”
Gillespie, Fisher, and board member Rob Long voted in favor of the pay increase. Oda abstained from voting. Following the meeting, Oda declined to comment on why he abstained from voting.
The pay increase will cost between approximately $1,900-$2,000 extra per election.
The board later unanimously approved increasing the pay for the county’s polling location rentals from $45 per precinct to $75 per precinct. The cost increase per election will be approximately $1,900. It goes into effect for the upcoming Nov. 2 election.
Also on Tuesday, Bruns notified the board that a candidate, BJ Bethel, who was previously running for the Tipp City Board of Education, withdrew his candidacy. It is too late for Bethel to be removed from the ballot, but there will be signs posted at the pertinent voting locations notifying voters that he is no longer candidate. The votes for Bethel will also not be tabulated.
For the upcoming election, the board’s office has also sent out four ballots to military and overseas voters. There have also been 75 applications for absentee by mail voters. The deadline to register to vote for the Nov. 2 election is Monday, Oct. 4, and the board’s office will be open until 9 p.m. For more information on voter registration, visit the Ohio Secretary of State’s website at voteohio.gov or contact the Miami County Board of Elections office at (937) 440-3900.
Early voting begins Tuesday and will take place at the Miami County Courthouse located at 215 West Main St., Troy. Voters should use the main entrance on the east side of the building, facing the Miami County Safety Building, and voters are asked to bring identification to the vote center.
Hours for early in-person absentee voting are between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on each weekday for the first three weeks of early voting between Oct. 5 through Oct. 22
For the fourth week of early voting, Oct. 25 through Nov. 1, the hours will be:
• 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. from Monday, Oct. 25, to Friday, Oct. 29
• 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 30
• 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31
• 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 1