Board preps for May primary


By Sam Wildow

[email protected]

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections met during its regular meeting on Wednesday evening, approving a number of business items in regard to the May primary election.

The board authorized the tabulation machine and ballot allocations for the May primary election. Director Laura Bruns stated the board is required to print the number of ballots they used for the 2018 election plus an additional 5% of whatever the turnout was. Bruns suggested going 10% over the 2018 turnout, and board member Rob Long requested going 15% over the turnout. Board members Jim Oda and Audrey Gillespie also voted in favor of Long’s motion to go 15% over and print approximately 26,900 ballots. Chairman Dave Fisher was absent, so he did not vote. Board members and staff noted the office can also print ballots on demand the day of the election if the voter turnout for the May primary exceeds expectations.

In regard to the state’s redistricting issue, Bruns said the office is “in a holding pattern” until the state can find consensus on lines for U.S. House and state legislative districts, which will have to satisfy both political parties and the Ohio Supreme Court. Members of Ohio’s political map-making panel were ordered Thursday to appear before the Ohio Supreme Court. Bruns added the office may have to re-certify the petition of Jena Powell for state representative depending on the redistricting outcomes.

The board also approved contracting with American Way Van and Storage for transporting voting equipment the day of the May 3 primary at a cost of approximately $7,551. This is an increase from the last time the board contracted with this business due to an increased cost of fuel, labor, and insurance.

The board also authorized a list of precinct election officials and the election officials’ training schedule. Bruns said the list of precinct election officials will continue to update. Individuals interested in becoming poll workers should contact the board’s office at (937) 440-3905.

At the end of the meeting, local resident Mindy Konicki spoke during public comment, requesting the board go entirely to paper ballots and “get rid of the electronic machines.” Currently, the Miami County Board of Elections utilizes a Clear Ballot Paper Voting system. Voters fill out paper ballots and submit them in a tabulation machine to be scanned. The paper voting system was put into place in 2019 following the miscount of over 6,000 early votes in the November 2018 election, which used touchscreen voting machines. The uncounted votes in 2018 did not impact any races.

The next regular meeting of the board will be at 5 p.m. on March 23, but the board may hold special meetings prior to that meeting due to the ongoing redistricting issues at the state level.

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