MIAMI COUNTY — Miami County Board of Elections conducted a mock election using its new paper ballot system with positive results on Thursday.
Secretary of State Frank LaRose stopped by the elections board to watch board staff tabulate the results of the mock election and observed officials as they walked the public through the tabulation process.
“I think it’s no secret that this board of elections had a couple missteps last year and so we know we’re working through a rebuilding phase here and making sure we are regaining the trust of the voters of Miami County,” LaRose said. LaRose placed the Miami County board of elections on state oversight, of which LaRose said the board was “very accepting.”
“This board and this staff is very focused on making sure that the people of Miami County are confident, whether it’s this November or next year, that when they cast their ballot, it’s going to be accurately counted and people are going to know their voice was part of the results that they saw,” LaRose said. LaRose said the office has worked with the office each week on implementing each directive. LaRose said the board will continue to be on state oversight for an undetermined amount of time, but said the board was “making great progress.”
The Miami County Board of Elections has been on state oversight for months following last November’s election in which a 6,288-vote discrepancy was found by the Secretary of State’s Office. The board staff had failed to count the early voting ballots, but once they were factored in, it did not change the outcome of any race or issue. The former board of elections director was fired before new Executive Director Bruns was hired last April. Bruns previously held a director position at the Mercer County Board of Elections where she started as a clerk in 2008. She is a graduate of the Ohio Association of Election Officials education program and was the Republican Election Official of the Year in 2016.
Chairman Dave Fisher also noted Miami County is one of three counties in Ohio that is part of the Secretary of State’s security pilot program.
Executive Director Laura Bruns said she is very proud of the work the board has done to implement new procedures and policies since accepting the position last April and she said, “and let the voters know in Miami County that we are very serious about taking your votes and counting those votes, every single one.”
“We look forward to showing the voters of Miami County that we are going to count every single one of their ballots,” Bruns said.
LaRose said the trust and confidence of the voters is one of the most important duties as election officials.
“This equipment that tabulates the results, as well as the machines that receive your ballot, are never connected to the internet,” LaRose said. “It would be a violation of law in the state of Ohio to connect a voting machine to the internet, so that’s another security protocol that’s in place. So when you hear one of these sensational stories about some hacker at some conference that tampered with a voting machine, what they are leaving out is that individual was able to put their hands on and tinker with it for an hour. We would never allow someone to mess with a voting machine. These machines are kept under double lock and key with both Republicans and Democrats guarding them. They are logic and accuracy tested before an election and after an election they are run through a post-election audit, like us balancing our checkbook. We check, we double check and we triple check along the way to make sure these results are accurate and secure.”
Forty-two registered voters participated in the mock election which asked voters to chose their favorite Miami County high school mascot and if school should be held year-round. According to results, Troy Trojans was the winner with 26 votes and 22 votes were cast for year-round school, with 20 votes against the “issue.”
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