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The Wayne County Board of Elections has just completed the largest precinct consolidation (as a percentage of total precincts) in its history. We lowered the number of precincts in Wayne County from 81 to 67, and coupled with a few new polling locations for already existing precincts, about 10,000 voters are receiving letters in early March notifying them of changes to their voting location.
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By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published:
WOOSTER — About 30 minutes after Mike Buytendyk turned in his petitions to elections officials to seek reelection as Wooster council president, he received a call saying his petitions were invalid.
The news from the Wayne County Board of Elections was like being knocked in the stomach, Buytendyk said. At first, he wasn’t sure what to do. He thought his chance to run again for president was finished, only getting one bite at the apple.
However, he discovered an Ohio Supreme Court decision that would allow him to send a letter to the board of elections instructing it to withdraw his petition. Then, he could submit a new petition.
Buytendyk dropped off his petitions the day before the filing deadline. Based on a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, elections officials cannot advise or give guidance to candidates. Buytendyk believes the interpretation is wrong.
By Steve Hoffman
Beacon Journal editorial writer
Earlier this month, at the winter meeting of the Ohio Association of Election Officials, a proposal was dropped that could bring dramatic changes to traditional voting methods.
The idea is for Election Day balloting to occur at a small number of vote centers instead of scattered polling locations, each handling a few precincts.
The big plus is that properly registered voters would be allowed to cast a ballot anywhere in a county — a convenience to those who commute to work or have other responsibilities that take them far from home during the day.
Vote centers would also bring an end to a long-running fight in Ohio over what to do about voters who show up in the wrong place. As matters stand, ballots cast by those who show up at the wrong precinct but correct polling location (“right church, wrong pew”) are counted. Not so for those who show up at the wrong polling location.
One way to fix that is to do what some 20 other states do — count so-called “wrong church” votes, at least as many of them as possible. Those voting in the wrong location might not be able to voice an opinion about a local issue, such as a liquor option, or a local candidate.
The Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) produced this video to help provide the public with an inside glimpse into the planning of each election. Each county board of elections follows these processes to ensure that a successful election is administered. The Wayne County Board of Elections is a member of the OAEO.