MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections met twice this week, tackling provisional ballots and approving the final ballot numbers.
“We got everything counted,” chairman Kelly Gillis said Tuesday afternoon.
Rumors of a recount in Ohio were mentioned but not confirmed during their meeting Tuesday afternoon, and the board went on to approve their official canvass of the Nov. 8 Presidential Election. Approximately 74.65 percent of registered voters — or 53,940 people out of 72,259 registered voters — cast their votes during the recent election. Director Bev Kendall said that this amount is around the same for other presidential elections.
In Miami County, Donald Trump received 69.84 percent of the vote versus 24.71 percent for Hillary Clinton, or 37,079 votes to 13,120 votes. There were approximately 20 other candidates listed as running for President of the United States.
Before the board approved their official canvass, they went over the approximate 1,100 provisional ballots cast during the Nov. 8 Presidential Election. During their meeting Monday morning, they began by approving 811 provisional ballots that had no issues with them. The board then rejected a number of invalid provisional ballots, beginning with 51 ballots where the voters were in the wrong polling location and wrong precinct. There were an additional four provisional ballots that lacked signatures.
Board member Jose Lopez asked if this was an error that the board needed to correct for future elections. Kendall said that it is a part of poll workers’ training to instruct voters on where they need to be. Kendall said that they will continue addressing that in poll worker training.
It was noted that poll workers do run into the issue of voters claiming that they have always voted at a specific location and refusing to leave that location. Board member Ryan King questioned if there was possibly not enough trust in the electronic poll books. King also asked if the electronic poll books had impacted issues with provisional ballots this election.
“I think this is much better,” Kendall said.
The board approved accepting 153 ballots as valid, allowing the board of elections office to remake those ballots. The voters who cast those provisional ballots were in the correct polling location, but voted in the wrong precinct, which Morgan and the board likened to being in the “right church, wrong pew.”
The board then rejected another 50 provisional ballots where the voters were not registered in Ohio and another 93 ballots where the voters had not been registered previously anywhere in the United States.
The board also briefly went into executive session to discuss personnel. When they came out of executive session, the board approved increasing the salary wages of Kendall and Morgan from $43,513 to $47,476 annually in response to the Fair Labor Standards Act. The Fair Labor Standards Act mandates that anyone making under $47,476 must be eligible for overtime pay. This wage increase was approved on the conditions that Kendall and Morgan will not be eligible to make overtime pay and that their salaries will not receive an annual increase for 2017.
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