New voting machines arrived Monday at the Champaign County Board of Elections, well ahead of the May 7 primary when they will be used for the first time. The new machines will result in combined voting locations and the need for fewer poll workers.
All Ohio counties will receive new machines for the election, including counties that vote with paper ballots and counties that use more technical systems. The state is paying for this mandated transition.
“We’re staying with paper,” Jodi Flora, deputy director of the county board, said.
She said voting changes will be minimal for voters, but those who wish to get acquainted with the machines prior to the election can attend the March 9 county Republican dinner or the April 11 county Democratic dinner to learn a bit more, see a demonstration and get hands-on experience. Both dinners will be held at the DAV-VFW Hall at 220 E. Court St., and both require reservations.
“People still can vote early here or by mail,” Flora said, adding the registration deadline to vote in the May 7 election is April 8 and people can start requesting absentee ballots or voting at the board office April 9. The office is located in the county Community Center on South U.S. Route 68 in Urbana.
Flora said Champaign County now has 28 precincts located at 15 voting sites. These voting sites will be combined into eight sites and letters will be mailed about April 1 to voters whose voting locations will change.
The changes are as follows:
– Urbana North and Urbana South will vote at the county Community Center, 1512 S. U.S. Route 68, Urbana
– Harrison, Adams and Concord townships will vote at the new Rosewood firehouse, 10778 W. state Route 29, Rosewood
– Saint Paris and Johnson Township will vote at the Saint Paris Public Library, 127 E. Main St., Saint Paris
– Jackson East will vote at the Christiansburg Firehouse with Jackson West (14 W. First St., Christiansburg)
– Wayne and Rush townships will vote at the North Lewisburg Municipal Building, 60 E. Maple St., North Lewisburg
Fewer voting sites will mean fewer poll workers will be needed, which may mean less stress for the county Board of Elections.
“It’s been very hard to get poll workers,” Flora said. “It’s a long day for them.”
The county Board of Elections met Saturday for its annual reorganizational meeting. Democrat Karen Ward was elected to chair the board. Other board members are Democrat Lynn Mintchell and Republicans Steve Moore and Roger Terry.
State law mandates there be an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on county boards. It also mandates that the director of a county board be the opposite party of the chair of the county board. And, the board’s deputy director must be the opposite party of the board’s director.
In Champaign County, Director Meredith Bodey is a Republican and Flora is a Democrat.
Kathy Fox can be reached at 937-652-1331, ext. 1773.