It’s easy to understand why the Board of Elections can’t find any money to stay open late for early voters who prefer to vote in person, they blew our tax dollars on overtime for salaried managers and on bonuses to friends and family (for longevity and “performance”).
To top if off, there isn’t an ethical or moral person sitting on either the board or working in the Montgomery County BOE or we wouldn’t have had the issues we’ve had; with the hiring of a convicted rapist without a job application (he was the brother of another worker) and a powerful lobbyist’s son who was first fired for forging a signature on an absentee ballot– then arrested for dealing meth.
The four-member board often splits down the middle by party lines, and third party or independent candidates are provided none of the assistance like having their signatures checked by board workers on their “lunch breaks” ahead of turn in.
The board salaries are exorbitant as well: $20k a year to meet twice a month. These positions are nothing but ways to pay off the local political party chiefs who either pocket the cash, or turn it over to the party coffers. Most of the patronage employees are also expected to heavily support the party with donations.
The entire office has no interest in either getting candidates on the ballot or getting ballots into the voters’ hands.
Hence- today’s article in the Dayton Daily News:
The Montgomery County Board of Elections will not have extended evening and weekend hours for early voting after Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced Wednesday that he broke two tie votes in favor of the board’s two Republican members.
“My analysis considered the financial constraints of the board and the time already allocated to early voting,” said Husted.
He said there is ample time for people to vote early during normal board hours Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. or from home.
“Frankly, I see this as voter suppression,” said Dennis Lieberman, a Democrat who offered two motions Oct. 18 to extend the board’s hours. “People are coming there at 4:30 or 5 to find it was closed. This is not what we should be doing in America.”
He said he was at the board Friday afternoon and it was packed with people who wanted to vote early in person for the Nov. 8 general election. He said the board had budgeted for additional hours. Among area counties, both Greene and Butler boards of election have extended hours, including Saturdays.
Husted’s ruling also overturned Lieberman’s effort to allow early voting after 6 p.m. Nov. 4, which Husted said would violate state law. That law is separate from a voting reform law that reduced the early voting period but which is on hold because it will be subject to a referendum in November 2012. The board’s other Democrat, Tom Ritchie, voted with Lieberman. Husted must break all tie votes.
Board Chairman Greg Gantt and member Kay Wick voted against extending evening and weekend hours and allowing early voting after Nov. 4. Gantt said there are plenty of opportunities for people to vote from home or in the board office, as well as on election day, and the board shouldn’t spend money on staffing for extra hours…
The Rev. Darryl Fairchild, who joined other ministers in complaining about the lack of extended hours, said he was infuriated by the Republicans’ position and Husted’s decision.
“A person who is entrusted to ensure that every person gets a chance to vote decided to prevent people from voting,” said Fairchild. “It is ludicrous for (Husted) to say ‘financial concerns’ given that his party just voted to spend $15 million on a second primary in 2012.”
As Reverend Fairchild points out- the idea of a second primary to select candidates for Congress is only being caused because the secretary of state chose to go with a horrifically gerrymandered new map. The BOE is hoping to hold another restricted polling place election like the one I ran in last year- with 4 polling places for the entire county- which turned out to be a farce.
The reality is, having only one elected person overseeing elections is a farce, and what we really need is to create a new system of chief ethics officers in each county to oversee not only elections but all government offices so that we don’t have the kind of mischief we see in the Montgomery County Board of Elections.
There needs to be an investigation into the overtime being paid for salaried employees, and why Montgomery County is paying double what they pay for the same jobs in Greene County. We also need to start investigating if the claims made by former employees of ballot failures are true- and if they are, need to re-evaluate the qualifications of the employees and the people who hire them.
Democracy is a farce if we can’t trust that our elections are handled fairly and properly.
It’s pretty easy to afford extended hours for a few weeks before an election, just hire some more friends and family to oversee it. Why not? Seems to be the standard operating procedure downtown.