Elections officials make final plans

By Nancy Bowman, Contributing Writer and Jeremy P. Kelley, Staff writer

Miami County’s Board of Elections office was busy but running “smoothly” a dozen days after the abrupt resignation of longtime elections Director Steve Quillen.

Bev Kendall, acting director, and Pam Calendine, deputy director, updated board members early Tuesday on the status of the office, early voting and preparations for the final weekend of voting before the Nov. 6 election.

“We are getting busier and busier in the office, but everything seems to be going smoothly,” Calendine said.

Quillen’s resignation was submitted after an Oct. 18 board meeting and accepted by the board the next morning. He cited the pressure of the presidential election for his departure. Quillen served as director since 2002.

Calendine has been with the office eight years, six as deputy director. Kendall, who has worked in the office 14 years, agreed to serve as interim director while county Republicans review candidates for director.

The board Tuesday received a daily breakdown of early vote numbers. Monday was the busiest day for early voting so far, with 578 people casting ballots at the elections office. Since Oct. 2, 4,567 people had voted early. The office will set up extra voting machines and have extra help this weekend.

After delays in the mailing of absentee ballots, contractor Dayton Legal Blank is reporting 100 percent of those requested are being sent out, Calendine said. Of the 8,900 ballots sent, 5,500 have returned.

Elections board Chairman Roger Luring thanked the office staff and board members for their efforts. “Things are going along nicely,” he said.

Montgomery County

The BOE staff has begun scanning (but not counting) the 50,000 ballots turned in so far, all of which are paper ballots. At their Tuesday meeting, board members began dealing with problem ballots.

Deputy Director Steve Harsman said about 44,000 pages (roughly 22,000 ballots) have been scanned so far, and about 3,000 pages were flagged for review.

Some ballots have simple problems that render them unreadable by the scanning machine — a rip or stain, or a case where a voter made check marks by their candidates rather than filling in the appropriate circle.

The BOE on Tuesday approved “remaking” those ballots, meaning a balanced Democrat-Republican team recopies each voter’s choices onto a clean ballot so it can be scanned.

About 900 ballot pages have more complex “voter intent” concerns, where the board members will have to come to agreement on how to count the ballot. Examples include filling in one circle then crossing it out, or having a light mark next to one candidate and a dark mark next to his opponent.

Montgomery County’s BOE will meet at 8:30 a.m. Friday to rule on those ballots.

Greene County

The Greene County Board of Elections ran an accuracy test Tuesday, with BOE members filling out test ballots on both paper and voting machines. After the paper ballots were scanned and the voter access cards were entered, the board double checked each race to confirm the results matched their votes.

Deputy Director Llyn McCoy said the number of registered voters in Greene County was just shy of 125,000, about 10,000 higher than in 2008. As of Tuesday, more than 17,000 people in the county had already voted in person or by mail. That’s roughly 14 percent turnout so far, almost identical to Montgomery County’s percentage.

Greene County’s BOE will meet at 2:30 p.m. Friday to review their ballots that have “voter intent” issues.

Statewide

Secretary of State Jon Husted said that entering this week, more than 1.2 million Ohioans had already cast their ballots — more than 950,000 by mail and 300,000 in person. Of the 1.3 million absentee ballots that were mailed to voters statewide, 72 percent have already been returned.

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