If you don’t know, I have a second, very important job. It’s kind of the culmination of over 14 years of prior volunteer work. I serve as one of the four Board Members on the Lucas County Board of Elections.
In Ohio, by design, each Board of Elections is run in a bipartisan way on everything we do. There are four Board Members, two Democrats and two Republicans appointed by our county party’s Executive Committee and confirmed by our boss, the Ohio Secretary of State. The Chair of that Board has to be the opposite party of the Director, who runs the board’s operations on a day by day basis, and they have a Deputy of the opposite party.
Whenever we do anything, register you to vote, change your address, process your request to vote by mail or at an Early Vote Center, or your polling place, and handle and count your ballots on the way back, each and every step requires both a Democrat & Republican to agree that it should proceed. This is how we’re able to tell you that in the last 50 years in Ohio the legitimate voting percentage is at 99.999999% percent and our Board of Elections post election audits and we do a risk limiting audit almost every election, has an accuracy rate that is above 99.99%.
We are trained to overcome any obstacle, and not give up until we do. In my initial training with the Secretary of State’s office we had to do a table top, simulation, exercise. In mine, our largest polling place was destroyed the night before the election due to a gas leak. All of the equipment was gone, the polling place was gone, and no other building was available of that size. It wasn’t pretty, but we got praised for a good handling of that nightmare.
And since then our team, and I can’t tell you how proud I am of everyone who works on elections in this county, has dealt with worse. I was on the Board in 2020 when due to COVID-19 and the rapid spread of it and lack of protective gear, the Governor and Secretary of State tried to shut the Presidential Primary down, lost their court case trying to do so, after telling everyone it would be not held, and our Public Health Director saving us. We would have pulled it off the next day, but likely we would have created a massive COVID-19 hotspot doing it. And that’s just the worst of many tough scenarios in my a little over four years on the Board.
But this year we have one that may top the others. Earlier this year, House Bill 458 changed dramatically the way we do elections in Ohio. And if you’ve not checked out what that means for voter ID and provisional voting you need to. But it also supposedly eliminated August Special Elections. Our bipartisan advocacy group, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, were not happy with most of that legislation, but this is one provision we supported.
It takes months to prepare for an election. And giving us a Primary in May, for four Ohio Counties and possible second Primary in September, and the General Election in November is something we can handle, but having another one is August strains us to the brink. So we were very excited to see that party happen.
But then a coalition of special interest groups, including an out of state billionaire, decided that they didn’t want it to be easy for We the People to over rule our legislature and they demanded that this be done in the spot where an August Election would go. And I’ve already written a long blog on why that is a bad idea. But the General Assembly, Governor and our boss decided to make us do this anyway, costing you over $30 Million statewide for this.
The problem is it is Summer. Many of our usual poll workers are busy doing other things. Also, they know we have a September Election to do, followed closely by the November one, and working a polling place is, not exaggerating here, a 15 hour day. Still others are not going to work as they don’t think the General Assembly should be allowed to do this.
But we have to pull off an election, with or without the folks we normally rely on. So far over 400 have stepped up to serve. Up we use more like 1,300 in an election like this. And we wouldn’t be at the needed 1,300 now for any election, but we’re behind were we want to be.
So, I’m asking you, if you’re a registered voter in Lucas County, to consider signing up to work as a poll worker. We pay you for training and your service. Many professionals, including attorneys like myself can get professional continuing education credits for serving. And it’s a vital job in keeping democracy going. And it’s easy to get started.
You can call (419) 213-4001, which the Lucas County Board of Elections main office number. Or if you are computer savvy, go over to our website, lucascountyohiovotes.gov. Go to the Voter Information page, link will follow, and click on the Am I Registered to Vote option in the center of the screen. It’s a good idea to do that anyway as you can check to make sure you’re registered at your current address and with your current name, and you only have until July 10th to fix any of those.
When you’ve entered your info, we have some good information for you, you can see your ballot so you can think about your choices now, you can check your polling place, request or track an absentee ballot if you’ve requested one, print out the form to request one. Or, second down on the list, become a poll worker. Fill in all the blanks with your contact information both email and phone, and we’ll get with you.
Here’s that short cut - https://www.lucascountyohiovotes.gov/voter-information
Sign up now for August, consider doing it again for September, and November. The Democracy you save may be your own.
Areas of Practice
© COPYRIGHT 2024. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.