Elections board lifted from state oversight


MIAMI COUNTY — Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose’s office officially notified the Miami County Board of Elections that it is no longer under state oversight.

In an email to chairman Dave Fisher, LaRose said, “I am pleased to report that those requirements have been enthusiastically achieved and I am officially removing the Miami County Board of Elections from administrative oversight.”

“It was a very good day,” said Director Laura Bruns on Tuesday during the board’s regular meeting.

Fisher commended Bruns, Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway, and board staff who he said “worked tirelessly” on the Secretary of State’s plan. He also thanked Prosecutor Tony Kendell for the office’s assistance.

“We’ve been working extremely hard on this,” Fisher said.

Fisher also thanked SOS regional liaison Kenny Henning, who attended each board meeting and election, for his assistance.

During its year under state oversight, LaRose noted the board’s conditions that were completed: participated in weekly conference calls with the Elections Division; provided SOS office with status reports on the board’election preparation and utilized guidance from the office for daily operations; partnered with the SOS office to develop new policies and an updated Election Administrative Plan; both the May 7, 2019 Primary-Special Election and the Nov. 5, 2019 General Election were found to have been conducted successfully and accurately; the Nov. 5 General Election, the board implemented new voting equipment and thoroughly trained precinct election officials to operate new equipment; and proactively conducted a successful post-election audit of the May 7 Primary; conducted a public mock election to build public trust; served as a pilot county, one of three selected, to implement the security directives along with the SOS and a cybersecurity consultant and the board proved it was possible to satisfy a large portion of the directive requirements within a short amount of time; hired Laura Bruns as director of the board and noted she and deputy director Ian Ridgeway work well together and have proven that they are strong elections officials.

“When we met with the board on Feb. 12, 2019, I expressed my optimism that the Miami County Board of Elections would enthusiastically take on this challenge and regain the voters’ trust. It is my belief that the board has surpassed expectations and I am thrilled to make this decision today,” LaRose said.

• The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, Feb. 18. Early voting will begin the following Wednesday. Early voting will be held at the Hobart Center for Government Building located at 510 W. Water St.

• The March 17 Primary is 49 days away as of Tuesday. The board approved March 17’s ballot and its order. The board also approved to move the Concord Twp. polling location from the Crystal Room to the Troy Church of the Nazarene located at 1200 Barnhart Road. According to Ridgeway, the Crystal Room’s ownership has changed and was unable to confirm if the board would be able to use the former space for the election in November. Postcards will be mailed out to voters who reside in the polling location.

• The board discussed two security businesses to use state grant money to upgrade the office’s security. Ridgeway presented quotes from national SimpliSafe and local business River Valley. The board was granted $30,000 total for security upgrades as a pilot program for the state and the fund has approximately $20,000 left, Bruns said. The initiative was tabled to allow more research on the companies and there capabilities and how it would work with the county’s IT department equipment.

• The board approved to purchase six carts from Clark County for $700 per cart. Each cart houses voting equipment for precincts. Bruns said Clark County had six extra custom carts that they paid $1,250 per cart. Bruns said the board actually needed six additional carts, which come from the same company the board had purchased from last year.

LaRose says all requirements met

By Melanie Yingst

Miami Valley Today

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