Mahoning Co. Board of Elections makes changes to election night procedures

There will now be one Democratic and Republican observer in the tabulation room

Mahoning County Board of Elections

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – You can expect some changes next election night in Mahoning County.

Thursday, the Board of Elections made several provisions to its tabulation and communications policy after members made a mistake after the last election — counting 6,000 ballots twice.

“What happened this November will never, ever, ever happen again,” said board member Dave Betras. “The assistant director was distracted and that’s what made him forget to reset the machine.”

It was enough that Secretary of State Jon Husted asked the board to make changes. Their solution — fewer distractions.

“I think the commotion that goes on — the talking, people talking politics back and forth — I don’t want that anymore,” said board director Joyce Kale-Pesta.

Less commotion means fewer people, including appointed observers.

“The days of each candidate having an observer there is changing,” Betras said.

There will be one observer per party and if a candidate is unaffiliated with a party, they need to group up with four other candidates to receive an observer.

On top of fewer people in the building, there will also be fewer people in the tabulation room, including board members.

“Only two employees selected, a Democrat and Republican, will be permitted in the tabulation room for counting of the votes,” Kale-Pesta said.

The new policy also includes a canvass procedure checklist to ensure accuracy.

The changes will be sent to Husted’s office on Thursday.


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