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As November’s presidential election draws closer, Auglaize County Elections Board members continue to get ready.
During Wednesday’s board meeting, they proofed ballots, discussed new computers, made decisions about poll workers and discussed duties of new temporary employees.
Ballot proofs for each of the county’s precincts checked out fine and are expected to be printed beginning next week.
In preparation for what they are expecting to be an influx of absentee ballots, Elections Board Director Carolyn Campbell said they can print the ballots and stuff them in envelopes to get them ready to mail by Oct. 2, when absentee ballots may be mailed and absentee voting begins in the office.
“Already we’ve gotten over 1,000 requests,” Campbell said.
The state mailed all previously registered voters in Ohio applications to submit requesting absentee ballots for the Nov. 6 election. Of the 32,000 registered voters in the county, Campbell estimates they could expect at least 9,000 casting their ballots absentee this year.
“The state is saying we could expect 50 percent more absentee voters than in 2008, when we had 6,000,” Campbell said.
Two temporary workers were hired to help as needed with the extra work load in preparation of the election, primarily helping with absentee ballots — entering information into computers, printing ballots, folding and mailing them, and then helping to count them.
Mary Mathews and Paula Fledderjohann are to work approximately three days a week, no more than 56 hours per pay period.
Two new computers ordered from New Unity have been delivered and set up, although they cannot connect to the server because the computer’s software is too new to work with the existing election software.
Programming changes are ongoing and are expected to be in place prior to November’s election.
The computers are to replace ones bought in 2005, which are used to program ballots and tabulate results. While those computers have been working, there was concern with their age that they should have another option in place, especially in a year of a presidential election.
“Although we’ve had no real issue with them, they are starting to get a little age on them,” Campbell said.
At a cost of $9,800, the computers were purchased after consultation with county and state information technology personnel and other election boards.
“We don’t want any problems this election,” Campbell said.
An informational person is to be placed at the New Bremen Senior Center the day of the elections to help guide voters in the three New Bremen city and German Township precincts voting there to where they need to go.
“It’s very busy there and is a struggle to keep people where they need to be and keep things running smoothly,” Campbell said.
An additional information person is to be added where there is one already at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds, where all 10 Wapakoneta precincts and both Duchouquet Township east and west vote.
Campbell said she thought the busy polling site could use some more directional help at the door during this election, for which a large turnout is anticipated.
Board members also decided to move Kay Rolston, the wife of the Uniopolis mayor who serves as a poll worker in the village, to Union Township instead to prevent any concerns with conflict of interest, with her husband having helped to circulate a petition to unincorporate, or dissolve, the village, an issue which appears on the ballot this election.
“As a poll worker it gives us a little more flexibility,” Campbell said. “It still puts her in the building, but not right at the table.”
The last day to register to vote in November’s election is Oct. 9.