Board certifies election results

MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections certified its official results of the Nov. 3 General Election on Tuesday.

The totals included 58,361 ballots case out of 75,470 registered voters for an overall turnout of 77.3 percent — a record for the county.

For the Presidential Election results from Miami County, Donald Trump/Mike Pence had 41,371 votes (71 percent) and Joe Biden and Kamala Harris had 15,663 votes (27 percent).

The city of Tipp City’s income tax issue, which failed to pass, had the most narrow of margin — 102 votes — but not enough for a recount, according to Director Laura Bruns. The issue had 2,882 votes for the income tax and 2,984 against the tax. The issue also had 312 undervotes where voters didn’t vote on the issue at all and five overvotes when a voter selected both options for the issue.

Three provisional ballots were found to be uncountable during the canvass process. Two had the wrong precinct and wrong ballot and one provisional envelope did not have a ballot inside. The board approved those changes to the counts.

Bruns gave a report to the board on its remaining grant funds. Bruns said there is $19,800 left in the the Center for Tech and Civic Life’s grant out of $39,000. Bruns said the grant has been used so far to pay for Election Day lunch for the county’s poll workers, as well as polling location rent and seasonal employees and outreach for ads, from print to YouTube video ads.

Bruns requested and the board approved to pay a $25 “bonus” to its 486 poll workers from Election Day. Poll worker compensation is $124 plus $15 for training. Presiding poll workers earn $152, including training.

From the remaining $7,650, Bruns requested the board approved to use it as “hazard pay” for its four staff members and two-part time employees. Board member Audrey Gillespie noted hourly full-time staff was paid overtime and salaried staff, Bruns and Deputy Ian Ridgeway, needed to be compensated for their work and efforts out of those funds. The board approved the expenditure of the grant money “as they see fit” and for the director to decide how to divvy up the remaining funds among the staff and provide a report at its next meeting.

• The board used all of the $35,000 from the National Vote at Home Institute for the letter extractor. Bruns said she plans to offer other county departments like the auditor’s office the use of the machine or other departments that have a lot of mail. The machine assisted with opening envelopes due to the increase of absentee ballots for 2020 amid COVID-19 precautions.

• The board reported they used the $86,000 in CARES funds for personal protection equipment, additional postage and costs incurred for election mailing and as well as payment of seasonal staff.

• The county received $40,000 HAVA grant for cybersecurity and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Bruns said she’s “struggling” to find ways to spend it since the county received $30,000 in funds for cybersecurity as part of the Secretary of State’s pilot program. Bruns suggested adding a handicapped accessible counter space at the office as staff is researching how to rearrange the office space. The funds were also used to purchase safety items like fire extinguishers.

• Bruns said she’s planning an “Election Reflection” to gain feedback from poll workers on what was successful or challenging during the election. Bruns said it’s only the second time the board has used the voting machines and equipment as well as learning how to make COVID-19 precautions more efficient.

“I thought it was helpful the last time,” Bruns said. Poll workers who worked during Election Day can meet the week of Dec. 14. Bruns said staff will hold the forum at the following times: 10 a.m. Dec. 14; 1 p.m. Dec. 15; 5 p.m. Dec. 16; 2 p.m. Dec. 17; and 10 a.m. Dec. 18.

• Due to no filing requirements or deadlines, Bruns requested the board of elections office be closed from Dec. 24 and reopen Jan. 4, 2021 for the holiday. Board member Rob Long requested the staff work out a schedule to have one member of each party “on call” should a need arise during the closing of the office. Bruns also said the election’s document box would be available for any applications or registration that needed to be submitted to the office while it is closed.

• Due to the holiday, the board of elections will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 15 at the Board of Elections office at the Miami County Courthouse.