Local man named Republican Precinct Election Official of Year in the state


By Sam Wildow

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COLUMBUS — A Miami County voting location manager was named the state’s 2020 Republican Precinct Election Official of the Year during a ceremony held in Columbus earlier this week.

Sam Robinson, of Huber Heights, received the award from Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose after the Miami County Board of Elections nominated Robinson earlier this year. There are two Precinct Election Official of the Year awards, one for a Republican and one for a Democrat. The Democratic Precinct Election Official of the Year was awarded to an official in Delaware County.

“I feel very honored and humbled,” Robinson said. Robinson said he enjoys leading other precinct election officials in his role as a voting location manager, as well as working with the public.

In its nomination of Robinson, the Miami County Board of Elections cited an example of Robinson’s leadership during an emergency situation at a polling location last year, saying Robinson faced the situation “with efficiency and skill.” On election day, a voter mistakenly hit the gas pedal instead of the brake on her SUV while trying to park, and she crashed into the building where voting was taking place.

“Sam responded quickly to assess the situation and dispatch emergency responders,” the nomination letter stated. “He and his team were able to rearrange the voting machines and booths and continued with their duties throughout the morning with no delays in processing voters. The voter was evaluated and eventually was able to cast her ballot before first responders drove her home.”

The nomination letter goes on to state Robinson “remained calm and managed his team well,” during the incident. Robinson also actively sought out alternative sites in the event the location was found to be structurally unsafe and the location had to be moved. Building examiners deemed the building safe, so Robinson worked with church personnel to make temporary repairs and secure the damage to the wall.

“So many of our 400 plus PEOs (precinct election officials) are outstanding, it is hard to single one worker out for this special award. We believe Sam’s dedication and coolness under pressure make him uniquely qualified for this award,” the Miami County Board of Election’s nomination letter stated.

According to the Miami County Board of Elections, Robinson has served as the voting location manager of the St. John the Baptist Catholic Church polling location in Tipp City for the past nine years. Robinson has also not missed an election since at least 2006, including every primary election, as well as several special elections. His wife, Ann, has served as a voting location manager since at least 2005.

Robinson “manages his location of seven precincts with the leadership and organization of a military veteran,” officials at the Miami County Board of Elections said in its nomination letter. Robinson served 28 years as an officer in the U.S. Air Force, and has spent the last 20 years as a federal employee at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton. He is a community volunteer in the City of Huber Heights, Bethel Local Schools, and the Knights of Columbus at the local, district, and state levels. He and Ann are parents of three and grandparents of seven.

“We have two objectives,” Robinson said about working at election precincts, explaining those objectives are “implementing the requirements of the Board of Election” and “to provide good customer service.”

Robinson encouraged others to consider becoming precinct election officials, particularly encouraging people in younger generations to get involved. Robinson said he usually takes time off work in order to be a voting location manager for the Miami County Board of Elections.

“It’s a great experience, no matter your age,” Robinson said. In addition to meeting lots of people, he said, “You get such a fulfillment in doing something for the community.”

“There’s a number of opportunities to help,” Robinson said.

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