Election board eyes Ferry polling site

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Bill Shubat is hoping to get on the agenda at the next meeting of the Martins Ferry City School Board.

Shubat, the director of the Belmont County Board of Elections, is trying to get with the district about a polling place for upcoming elections.

South School used to be the official polling locale for all five precincts within Martins Ferry. However, as the building was sold and is now in the hands of a private entity, it’s status as a polling place is up in the air.

“We can’t go back to use the firehouses as we did before because the majority are not ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliant for one reason or another,” board chairwoman Frankie Carnes explained. “Our only other alternative, if we can’t come to agreement, is to send people to Colerain. Or they can vote by mail which, if it came to that, I’m hoping a lot would choose to do. However, we still have to have polling locations open.”

Carnes said it’s not the desired of the board to inconvenience any voter. However, this move is an ADA compliance issue and that the board has a legal obligation to do so.

Ohio Revised Code 3501.29 states that “upon application of the board of elections, the authority which has the control of any buildings or grounds supported by taxation under the laws of this state, shall make available the necessary space therein for the purpose of holding elections without charge for the use thereof.”

Shubat said he will look into getting on the agenda for the Ferry BOE’s February meeting.

Shubat also spoke with Bridgeport Board of Educated member Jerry Moore about an upcoming election in-service at the school.

Bridgeport is looking to put a 1-mill levy on the ballot to assist in paying for a school resource officer.

“The Bridgeport board, superintendent and personnel have been extremely cooperative with us,” Carnes said. “We understand their problem and they understand ours.”

Levies appears to be a hot item for the upcoming primary election with Bridgeport, Bellaire, Buckeye Local looking at levies, along with another potential school district.

Carnes also mentioned the possibility of a county-wide levy being on the ballot.

Originally, the thought was that primary elections may only be needed in a few select locations. However, it appears that may no longer be the case.

Shubat reported that at next meeting, he’s hoping a representative from Dominion Voting Systems will be on hand to discuss not only its new voting system, but also the company’s memory cards that operate without a battery. Those cards are $350 apiece.

Shubat said he’s going to be sending out a reminder to everyone who must fill out a financial disclosure statement for the Ohio Ethics Commission. Those required can visit www.ethics.ohio.gov to fill out there disclosures.

The next election board meeting is Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 4 p.m. at the board office in St. Clairsville.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com