House Bill changes absentee voting this year

LISBON — Absentee voting will be different this year as a result of Ohio House Bill 41, the county’s elections board director, Adam Booth, said during his last day on the job on Friday.

Booth is leaving the position after accepting a job as accounts manager of Clear Ballot, a company that manufactures and sells optical scanner/paper ballot voting systems similar to the one used in the county for the last decade.

“It will be more like an election day scenario,” Booth said of how the legislation will change absentee voting. “Before, they would fill out an application, fill out ID information, put it in an envelope and store it in the ballot room until allowed by law to open up and start scanning.”

Now, voters will provide ID and an electronic signature to get their ballot and have it immediately scanned that day. The ballots will not be counted until the actual election day, however.

Booth said the board of elections will have a ballot scanner set up in the lobby for those wishing to cast absentee ballots.

The Ohio Secretary of State’s office will be releasing additional information about the procedures in the near future, he added.

Voter registration deadline is April 8 and absentee voting begins on April 9. Deadline for write-in candidates is Feb. 25.

Board members then took a moment to thank Booth for his service as director.

“I want to thank Adam for his dedication and his commitment to this board and his sense of professionalism at all times,” vice-chairman Dave Johnson said. “You have done such a great job. We are going to miss you.”

Booth’s replacement is Kim Fusco.

Bryce Miner, who was appointed as deputy director on Jan. 31 said the new experience has been going well.

“I want to thank you for this appointment. I look forward to working with the staff to provide prompt, accurate and courteous service to the residents of this county,” Miner said.

The board also thanked Patty Colian for serving as chairwoman of the board. It was Colian’s last day to serve as chair.

“I want to say thank you to the board. We pretty much get along. There have been a few occasions where we haven’t, but I appreciate everything the directors have done and a great job they have done. I welcome Bryce and I hope they continue to do what is best for the voters of Columbiana County,” she said.

Colian can no longer serve as chair since she is a Democrat and the director, Fusco, is also a Democrat.

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