Elections board gets set for primary

Seneca County Board of Elections personnel are gearing up for Election Day May 8, after early voting began Tuesday.

During a meeting Wednesday afternoon, elections board Director Jim Ehrman said preparations are going well.

Board Deputy Director Lori Ritzler agreed.

“We’re right where we need to be,” she said.

Ehrman said 182 poll workers have committed to work the election, but help still is needed. He said the board would like to have up to 210 poll workers.

Poll workers are paid $120 for the day and are eligible for a $20 training bonus. Ehrman said remaining training sessions, which last about two hours, are scheduled for April 25 and May 5.

Ehrman said anyone interested in becoming a poll worker may visit or call the elections office at (419) 447-4424.

In other business, the board received notification that state funding could become available to help counties purchase new voting machines.

In August 2016, Seneca County commissioners agreed to set aside $500,000 for the eventual purchase. Local officials anticipate the state is to require the purchase of new machines eventually.

Elections panel members learned Wednesday the Ohio Senate Finance Committee approved Senate Bill 135, which would appropriate $114.5 million to counties to purchase voting equipment.

Board member David Koehl said no one knows how the money would be split if the bill eventually is approved by the legislature, but he guessed Seneca County could receive about $570,000 if it is split by population.

Ehrman said board members and other personnel attended an event last year in which companies displayed voting equipment. Because of the range of equipment, he said no one knows the final cost of machines.

The board also learned that approval of the bill was expected in the Senate Wednesday and state officials hope for House approval shortly after, so equipment could be purchased for use in the 2019 primary.