PIQUA — Early voting for the March 15 presidential primary is still going smoothly, as the Miami County Board of Elections received an elections update during their meeting Wednesday afternoon. There have been approximately 1,600 requests for absentee voting and approximately 500 people coming to the board’s office since early and absentee voting began in late February.
Deputy Director Eric Morgan also went over with the board a new directive that they received from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. The board’s office turns in the amount of absentee ballots that are rejected once a week to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office is now requesting that they also distinguish which political party that absentee voter identifies as when the board’s office turns in that information.
“(For) quite a few, the reason they were rejected was because they didn’t declare a party,” Morgan said.
Board member Jose Lopez stated that they cannot answer that question if the voter did not declare a party. The board’s office does send out a letter to the absentee voter letting them know that their ballot was rejected. Included in that letter is another request form that the voter can fill out.
Morgan brought up the idea of sending rejected absentee voters a nonpartisan ballot if the reason their absentee ballots were rejected was because they did not declare a party. Lopez stated that they should do only what they are required to do.
“Only do what you’re required to,” Lopez said. “We put the ball in their court and they didn’t want it.”
Later on in the meeting, Director Bev Kendall explained that the board’s office is planning on having someone from the Miami County IT Department in the office during the March 15 presidential primary.
“We’re going to ask for somebody six weeks before each election,” Kendall said.
Kendall also mentioned the idea of training some of the employees in the Miami County IT Department at the upcoming summer conference held for elections boards in Ohio. Board member Kelly Gillis was supportive of the integration of the two departments.
“We haven’t had that before, I think that (would) be good,” Gillis said.
During the board’s earlier organizational portion of their meeting, Gillis was sworn in. The newest member of the board, Ryan King, of Piqua, was sworn in at an earlier date at the Ohio statehouse. Kendall was reappointed as the board’s director, Morgan was reappointed as the board’s deputy director, and Gillis was reappointed as the board’s chairperson.
The media test for the upcoming election is expected to be held Friday.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall