BOE addresses election observers

MIAMI COUNTY — Members of both the Democratic and Republican parties have filed paperwork to be appointed election observers at the Miami County Board of Elections.

The deadline to file to be an observer was Oct. 23.

Board member Jim Oda asked Director Laura Bruns went over what the rules were regarding election observers during a meeting of the board of Tuesday. Bruns said appointed observers are provided identification so poll workers know why they are there and take an oath at each precinct prior to their observation.

Bruns said observers have been appointed by the Ohio Republican Party, Ohio Democratic Party and the Miami County Democratic Party.

Observers must file paperwork to observe early voting, at polling locations, the board office prior to the official canvas, and the election audit.

“We provide that list to all our poll workers so they do know these are the people actually approved to be observers. If you are not an approved observer, you have to be 100 feet away from the entrance. If the line extends beyond that 100 feet, you have to stand 10 feet away from any voters in line,” Bruns said.

Election observers also must submit a notification and certificate of appointment forms to the board of elections. Observers must be qualified electors in Ohio, but do not need to be registered to vote in the county where they are appointed to observe. Candidates and uniformed officers cannot serve as election observers.

Bruns said she will be meeting deputies and voting location managers prior to Nov. 3 to go over security and safety measures.

Chairman of the board Dave Fisher said voter intimidation would not be tolerated and law enforcement officials would be contacted immediately if such an incident should occur.

“We won’t tolerate it. We hope the public will contact us to nip it in the bud really quick,” Fisher said.

According to the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office, “Election observers are appointed by political parties, groups of candidates or issue committees to observe the conduct of the election. That role is important and can help ensure accountability, but it also requires observers to refrain from interfering in the voting process.”

• Only one appointed observer may be appointed to an early vote center or Election Day precinct by an appointing authority.

• Observers are allowed to be in the polling location within certain prescribed times before, during, and after voting is complete.

• Observers must not interfere with election officials or poll workers doing their jobs or otherwise slow down the operation of the polling location, board of elections, or early vote center, nor may they interact with voters in a manner that interferes with or disrupts an election.