VOICES: Protecting your vote – 365 days a year

Kurt Hatcher has served as Executive Director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party and member of the Board of Elections since 2019. Prior to that, he was the first Sustainability Manager at the University of Dayton, managing change toward a greener campus since 2008.
Caption
Kurt Hatcher has served as Executive Director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party and member of the Board of Elections since 2019. Prior to that, he was the first Sustainability Manager at the University of Dayton, managing change toward a greener campus since 2008.

Recently there has been a lot of misinformation (and intentional disinformation) about elections, by people who want us to doubt the security and integrity of our institutions.

Let me be clear: There is no basis in these allegations and doubts.

ExploreVOICES: Elections are SAFE in Montgomery County

Ohio’s bipartisan elections have always led the nation in security because of the extensive safeguards in place and dedicated elections officials who do the work.

This work is done by your friends and neighbors, people you see at the grocery store and church. These bipartisan teams of elections officials work diligently year-round on dozens of tasks to ensure that every voter is able to securely cast their ballot, and that every qualified ballot is counted accurately.

Every part of every process is done by the 26 dedicated Montgomery County Board of Elections staff who are evenly split between the two major parties and led by the four-person Board, which is made up of two Democrats and two Republicans.

Every election is a massive undertaking. In Montgomery County, we need more than 140 polling places and over 1,500 poll-workers just to make Election Day happen. There’s also the 28 days of early in-person voting and processing absentee by mail applications and ballots. Work done by actual people. By hand. For every single election.

Before the BOE can even print the ballots, candidate petitions are checked, ballot initiative and levy language collected and proofed for accuracy. Always multiple times, always by bipartisan teams.

ExploreVOICES: Ohio elections are free and fair, but there is room for improvement

And because the district lines for school boards, city councils, state legislative seats, and judicial districts are all unique, your ballot must reflect only the races relevant to your voting address. This means that there can be dozens and dozens of different ballot styles in use during an election, just in Montgomery County. This, combined with the security built into our voting equipment, virtually eliminates the possibility of an outside actor injecting faulty ballots into our elections.

Voter registration for the November 2nd election ends at 9 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4. Bipartisan BOE staff will be in the office to accept and process every voter registration in time for early voting to begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 3. The goal is to serve every voter fairly, and make the process as accessible as possible.

And while all of that is going on, the staff is training poll-workers, testing equipment, securing ballots, conducting early voting. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes this bipartisan structure is challenging for BOE staff, especially in these divided times. In fact, you may be thinking it’s awfully strange to be hearing so much about bipartisanship from the Executive Director of the local Democratic Party.

That’s because when it comes to the administration of elections, party politics takes a back seat to the Board’s shared goal of serving every voter and running the best, most accurate and secure elections in the nation. As a member of the Board of Elections, I think it is every voter’s right to safely cast their ballot, no matter their preference.

ExploreVOICES: H.B. 294 will bolster election security efforts

In Montgomery County we are so lucky to have experienced and dedicated staff who work long hours with little recognition, monumental pressure, and intense scrutiny. Their work is governed by an extensive set of law and policy that is informed by decades of real-world experience and best practices learned from all 50 states.

You can be confident in the accuracy, security, and fairness of every election in Montgomery County because the four Board Members, the 26 full-time staff, and the 1,500 poll-workers across Montgomery County are people you know from work, school, church, and the grocery store.

Kurt Hatcher has served as Executive Director of the Montgomery County Democratic Party and member of the Board of Elections since 2019.

About the Author