Changing faces at Seneca board of elections

A member of the Seneca County Board of Elections announced her retirement during Thursday’s meeting.

Cora Bour is to retire from the board effective March 29 due to health reasons.

“I will miss working with every one of you,” Bour said in her retirement statement. “I wish you the best.”

Board Chairman Charles Knight and board member Mary Puffenburger said they are sad to see her leave.

Chairman of the Seneca County Republican Party David Koehl thanked Bour for her many years of service on the board and as a member of the Republican Party.

Starting March 29, the Seneca County Republican Executive Committee has 15 days to make a recommendation for Bour’s replacement to Secretary of State Jon Husted, who will make the final appointment.

Koehl said the executive committee will meet to vote on its recommendation at 7 p.m. April 3 in the Frost-Kalnow Room at Tiffin-Seneca Public Library.

People interested in the job should send a resume and cover letter to executive committee secretary Jim Ehrman, 846 Leonard St., Fostoria, OH 44830.

Koehl said he intends to be a candidate for the position.

Also during the meeting, newly hired Deputy Director Stephanie Reed was sworn into office by board member Jim Fruth.

Reed began her work at the board Feb. 20.

In other business, the board discussed the Board of Elections’ facility, at 71 S. Washington St.

“This is a polling location, one of the busiest polling locations especially, with the early voting in place now, and our facilities are substandard and they do not meet the minimum requirements for a polling location,” Fruth said. “We’re basically shoehorned in a very small place. We do not have training facilities for our poll workers.”Knight said he will send a letter to Husted’s office, stating the board is working on a plan for the facility. He said he would like to meet with a commissioner to discuss the board’s options.

“You ask any county office if they would like to be in this space, and I bet you wouldn’t find any takers,” Bour said. “This is just terrible.”

Knight also said there is a privacy issue for voters who cast ballots at the Board of Elections office. Voting booths are close together and voters could see the ballot of their neighbor.

“Even if it happens once, it’s unfortunate and we have to strive toward making it a more secure area,” he said.

Also during the meeting, the board discussed voter fraud and suppression awareness, and Director Andrea Carroll said there were no voter fraud or suppression claims in Seneca County.

“No one has come forth with any statement of direct knowledge of any voter fraud that they have witnessed in any way, shape or form other than suspicion only,” Knight said. “As of today, I can say that in this county we do not think anybody has committed voter fraud.”

The board also approved a two-year contract renewal with ES&S, a company that is in charge of programming and ballot layouts. The contract is worth $22,864 per year.

The board announced that it will open 14 precincts for the May 7 election.