Election board reviews petitions

ST. CLAIRSVILLE Election Day on Tuesday, Nov. 5 is drawing closer and the members of the Belmont County Board of Election met Monday to finalize a few details and prepare for the final push.

They went over and approved last minute petitions and filings and approved making subtle changes to the appearance of names on the ballot, as well as accepting a bid.

But the board members wanted to take a moment and extend their gratitude to Columbus, in particular, the Ohio Secretary of State’s Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinator Brett Harbage for his assistance in helping to ensure all polling places within the county were 100-percent ADA compliant.

In their estimation, Harbage personally went above and beyond in enabling the county to meet this requirement.

“We thought we were up against the wall, but he enabled us to help the voters and has been a good friend to Belmont County,” said Frankie Lee Carnes, board president.

Director Bill Shubat noted there was one polling location in particular the board felt there was no way it could be made 100 percent compliant by election day, but through Harbage’s efforts, he made that happen.

“He has been a tremendous help,” Shubat said.

Harbage, who gets around in a wheelchair since an ATV accident at the age of 17, came down at the board’s request to do the inspections permanently and was instrumental in the board receiving funding to ensure its locations were compliant.

Two candidates for Bethesda Village Council had their petitions denied, one because the circulator statement on his petition was not filled in. The other was denied because the potential candidate was not a registered voter.

The board went through and approved final changes to how candidates’ names would appear on the ballots.

All requested changes were made, save for a few. No quotations or parenthesis were allowed to be used in the candidates’ names, nor were any nicknames allowed to be used that weren’t an accepted nickname or shortening of the candidate’s given first or middle name.

The board read two different bids for ballots, opting to choose the one provided by Election Management Services, which utilizes News-Gazette Printing Company to print its ballots.

The cost is 29.5 cents per ballot.

The bid submitted by the other company featured test ballots with skewed timing marks provided as examples.

Vouchers were paid totaling $7,800 for the month.

The next meeting dates for the board of elections is as follows: Monday, Sept. 23 at 3:30 p.m.; Monday, Oct. 21 at 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 4 p.m. The December meeting date has yet to be determined.

Hughes may be reached at mhughes@timesleaderonline.com