MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections voted to table the agenda of a special meeting Thursday evening following accusations from a fellow board member that the meeting was purposefully scheduled so that he could not attend.
Republican board member Ryan King called the board’s Democratic Chairman Dave Fisher “manipulative and dishonest” in an email Wednesday night following the announcement of a special meeting called to discuss voting equipment, as well as for a discussion of the 2018 general election results and an executive session concerning a personnel matter.
“I would like it publicly known that this meeting is being held specifically in short notice, and without my involvement, on purpose, so that I would be unable to discuss and vote on the agenda items,” wrote King in an email to Fisher, which was also sent to King’s fellow board members, Elections Director Bev Kendall, and reporters.
King added, “I believe this is unethical and the meeting or agenda should be modified to accommodate a full board. This is not how the Board of Elections should function and I find your actions manipulative and dishonest.”
Fellow Republican board member Rob Long said Thursday night that he does not believe the meeting was purposefully scheduled to exclude King. He made a motion to table the agenda items until the board’s regular meeting, which is scheduled for Jan. 22.
“I do not believe that you, Mr. Fisher, have been manipulative, dishonest or unethical in scheduling today’s special meeting,” he said.
Long added that the topics on the agenda are “extremely important to the voters and taxpayers of Miami County” and that those topics should be addressed by the whole board.
Board member Audrey Gillespie voted against tabling the agenda items. She said that she has a schedule conflict next week but “will do whatever I can to clear that conflict.”
Gillespie said she had no problem tabling the voting equipment discussion and the executive session, but said she did not want to postpone a discussion about the 2018 general election results.
Fisher declined to explain what that discussion would entail.
King wrote that he made it known that he could not attend the meeting and requested that the “meeting or agenda be modified so that a full board could be present.”
Fisher responded to King’s email Thursday afternoon, again shared with board of elections staff and reporters, saying, “We are going forward with the meeting tonight.
“It seems to me and others you don’t understand the gravity of this meeting,” Fisher told King.
The board has been divided over voting equipment for months. At a December meeting, the board was split on a motion by Fisher to buy a paper ballot voting system. Fisher and the other Democratic board member, Gillespie, voted “yes” and King and Long voted “no.”
The board has also considered a hybrid system, like the one the county currently has, that uses touchscreen machines to mark ballots, which are then printed.
Reach Cecilia Fox at email@example.com.