MIAMI COUNTY — A Republican member of the Miami County Board of Elections called the board’s Democratic chairman “manipulative and dishonest” in an email Wednesday night following the announcement of a special meeting called to discuss voting equipment.
“I would like it publicly known that this meeting is being held specifically in short notice, and without my involvement, on purpose, so that I would be unable to discuss and vote on the agenda items,” wrote Ryan King in an email to Chairman Dave Fisher, which was also sent to King’s fellow board members, elections director Bev Kendall, and reporters.
King added, “I believe this is unethical and the meeting or agenda should be modified to accommodate a full board. This is not how the Board of Elections should function and I find your actions manipulative and dishonest.”
The special meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday evening. Kendall notified board members and the media of the meeting Wednesday morning.
The agenda also includes discussion of the 2018 general election results and an executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
King wrote that he made it known that he could not attend the meeting and requested that the “meeting or agenda be modified so that a full board could be present.”
Fisher responded to King’s email Thursday afternoon, again shared with board of elections staff and reporters, saying, “We are going forward with the meeting tonight.”
Fisher claimed that other members of the board were in favor of having the meeting “sooner than later.”
“It seems to me and others you don’t understand the gravity of this meeting,” Fisher told King.
He added that a “change of heart” from the other board members would “weigh heavy on my vote to continue.”
The board has been divided over voting equipment for months. At a December meeting, the board was split on a motion by Fisher to buy a paper ballot voting system. Fisher and the other Democratic board member Audrey Gillespie voted “yes” and King and fellow Republican Rob Long voted “no.”
The board has also considered a hybrid system, like the one the county currently has, that uses touch screen machines to mark ballots, which are then printed.