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By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: August 18, 2015 4:00AM

WOOSTER — While the sample size was small, the response was huge: Go with the KNOWiNK electronic poll books.

The Wayne County Board of Elections, based on the recommendations of the director, deputy director and a limited number of poll workers and voters, authorized the purchase of KNOWiNK’s version of the e-poll books.

Only a handful of precincts were open for the Aug. 4 special election, and poll workers and voters had the chance to try out two e-poll books during a pilot program, one from KNOWiNK and the other from Everybody Counts.

“We liked both companies, and we kind of hoped one would kind of stand out, and that’s what happened,” Director Peter James told board members Earl Kerr, Jean Mohr, Betsy Sheets and Sue Donohoe. “KNOWiNK did very well. It was pretty much unanimous. They all had the same sentiment: KNOWiNK was easier to use and better.”

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The Ohio Association of Elected Officials (OAEO), of which the Wayne County Board of Elections is a member of, was successful in lobbying the Ohio General Assembly to several election-related amendments in the state budget that was signed into law on June 30, 2015:

  1. $1.25 million for absentee application mailing in the 2016 general election
  2. Elimination of February special election and 65% “prepay” for the August special
  3. $12.75 million for an 85%-15% state-local match for e-poll books

Wayne County anticipates purchasing e-poll books for countywide use beginning with the November 3, 2015 General Election. We will have more information on this in the coming months. We will be piloting two e-poll book products in the August 4, 2015 Special Election.

UPDATE: The Ohio Secretary of State’s office released an Advisory (2015-04) outlining the changes to the administering of elections in Ohio.

By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: July 6, 2015 4:00AM

WOOSTER — Nearly 30,000 pieces of mail have been sent to voters in Wayne and Holmes counties asking them to update their records due to inactivity or possible changes of address.

The staff in Wayne County sent out more than 22,000 forms to registered voters who have not cast ballots since the 2012 presidential election or might have changed addresses. The number in Holmes County was about 4,300.

The numbers are high in Wayne County because so many people registered for the 2012 presidential election, Deputy Director Julie Leathers said. The inactivity could be due to a lot of uncontested races.

The form, which comes from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, informs voters the

elections records show there has not been any activity or there might have been a change of address. The voters are then asked to update their voting records. They can either fill in the form and send it back in the self-addressed, prepaid envelope, or they go to www.myohiovote.com and update the information online.

In Wayne County, nearly 2,300 pieces were sent due to differences in the National Change of Address database. In Holmes County, the number was 359.

Husted’s office has access to the database, and every year the information is compared to the voter registrations, said Lisa Welch, director of the Holmes County Board of Elections. The NCOA notifications had been done every other year during the odd years, but now it is done annually, Welch said. Because it is done every year, the numbers have been shrinking.

There will be a special election in Wayne County on Aug. 4, and there will only be one issue: A 3.5-mill replacement levy for the Central Fire District. There is one issue on the ballot in

Holmes County, a 2.5-mill renewal of a road levy in Ripley Township.

The Central Fire District levy, if approved, will return the millage to its original 3.5 mills, and it will increase property owners’ taxes. It is to fund fire and emergency services for a continuing period of time. Precincts in Green and Wayne townships will be open for voters. Precinct 1 is at Wayne College; precincts 2 and 3 will be combined at Smithville United Methodist Church; Wayne Townships precincts 1 and 3 will be combined at the Church of the Cross United Methodist Church; and Precinct 2 is at Alice Noble Ice Arena. Polls are open 6:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m. on election day.

The deadline to register to vote for the Aug. 4 election is today. In-person absentee voting begins Tuesday.

For more information, call the Wayne County Board of Elections at 330-287-5480 or visit www.votewayne.org for more information; or the Holmes County Board of Elections at 330-674-5921 or www.holmescountyboardofelections.com.

Reporter Bobby Warren can be reached at 330-287-1639 or bwarren@the-daily-record.com. He is @BobbyWarrenTDR on Twitter.

COLUMBUS – Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted today praised the Ohio Senate for their passage of Senate Bill 63, sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose (R–Copley), which seeks to grant authorization to the Secretary of State to implement an online voter registration system in Ohio.

“This is another step in making it easy to vote and hard to cheat in Ohio by improving voter access and implementing additional security measures,” Secretary Husted said.

Online voter registration would create a more secure and efficient registration system while also serving as a significantly less costly way to register new voters. An analysis of other states shows that online voter registration can save between 50 cents and $2.34 per registration when compared to the traditional paper form. If an online system had been in place in Ohio between 2011 and 2014, the state’s local governments could have saved between $2.8 and $13.2 million.

Secretary Husted also announced his initiative has so far garnered support from county commissioners in 45 of Ohio’s 88 counties, the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, the Ohio Association of Elections Officials, and election officials from across the state.

“I am grateful to President Faber and Senator LaRose for their leadership in getting this issue passed and bringing us another step closer to providing this important tool to Ohio voters ahead of the 2016 Presidential Election,” Secretary Husted said. “I look forward to working with the members of the Ohio House to see the proposal become a reality.”

The legislation passed the Ohio Senate with strong bipartisan support and will now proceed to the Ohio House of Representatives for further consideration.

All Board meetings are held at the Wayne County Board of Elections office at 200 Vanover St. Suite #1, Wooster, OH. They are open to the public.

  • September 8, 10:30 a.m.
  • October 13, 10:30 a.m.
  • November 3, 7:30 p.m.
  • November 16, 10:30 a.m.
  • November 19, 10:30 a.m.
  • December 17, 1:30 a.m. (note change from December 8, and a change in time as well)

By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: May 9, 2015 4:00AM

WOOSTER — Online voter registration: It makes the process easier for those with Internet access, will save elections workers some time and money and it won’t cost local officials any more money. Count the Wayne County commissioners in.

Scott Wiggam, Jim Carmichael and Ann Obrecht met with Josette Burns of the Secretary of State’s Office, along with the county’s top elections officials, Peter James and Julie Leathers, to discuss the topic Monday.

Secretary of State Jon Husted is trying to build momentum with the issue to have state legislators approve of the measure, so he is asking for support from county commissioners, which is why Burns was in Wayne County.

The commissioners met with Burns previously to hear more about the issue, and they were initially skeptical, primarily because they did not know what it would cost county taxpayers.

Burns reported back there would be no local cost to implementing online voter registration, and it might even save the county money.

Husted’s office estimated the Wayne County Board of Elections will save between 50 cents and $1 per registration. For the registration forms it processed from 2011-2014, it would have amounted to $20,100-$40,200.

James, though, said he did not think the county’s savings would be a lot because his office does not hire additional people to handle registrations.

“It’s an everyday thing,” Leathers said. “Some days there are 10; some days there are two.”

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By BOBBY WARREN Staff Writer Published: April 22, 2015 4:00AM

WOOSTER — Uncle Sam might want you, but so, too, do Peter James and Julie Leathers, Wayne County’s top election officials, who are recruiting new poll workers.

Right now, the office is in a good position with its poll workers, said James, the director of the board. For the May election, there will be 52 polling locations in the county. The election is county-wide because of a Wayne County Children Services 0.2-mill renewal levy.

The Board of Elections has been continually reducing the amount of precincts. There were once more than 100; the number has dropped to 67. Board President Earl Kerr said the combining of some precincts is why there will be only 52 locations opened for the May 5 election.

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