Belmont County Board of Elections to decide on ballot-printing bidders

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK Belmont County Board of Elections director Aaron Moore, left, and Assistant Director Kamron Chervenak address the board Tuesday. Safety measures against the spread of COVID-19 are in place. The board is considering bids to print the midterm ballots, but no decision was made since one board member was absent for health reasons.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Elections is considering three vendors who submitted bids to print ballots for the coming midterm elections Nov. 8.

The board made no decision during its regular meeting last week because member Michael Shaheen was absent due to health issues.

“We have one member who is not here,” Chairwoman Frankie Lee Carnes said. “I have made a promise to every board member. If we had … anything as big as awarding bids with a lot of money, I would not call for a vote until all four members were present.”

A special meeting will likely be scheduled.

Election IQ, Graphic Village and Integrated Voting Systems each submitted bids. Director Aaron Moore said the board would not release the bid amounts until the next meeting.

“We will set a special meeting. We do have a couple questions. We want to reach out to each of the vendors to make sure certain things in the bids address what we need. We want to confirm some things,” he said.

“Obviously we would like all four board members to be here to look at it,” Assistant Director Kamron Chervenak said.

Jeff Phillips, business development manager with Election IQ, addressed the board, apologizing for an incorrect letter mailed out to voters.

“That letter was 100 percent my fault. It had nothing to do with Election IQ. It was information I gave to Election IQ,” he said. “Please don’t judge the company by my mistake.”

“I had A listed as B and B listed as A. I shouldn’t have done that. It was my fault,” he said afterward, adding it was a change-of-address mailing for people who have changed their address, informing them of requirements to vote.

“It was mis-sent at one time,” he said. “It got reversed. … They could have actually filled out the original forms that they got and sent them back in, but we just wanted to go in and fix it. It wasn’t as it was supposed to be. We went in and we fixed it.”

Phillips does not know how many voters received the mistaken mailing.

“They want to know what voters are here, who’s eligible, who’s not, that’s all it was,” Philips said.

“It was either updating your address or confirming you are still living where you were,” Moore said. “Some people just received a form worded a little differently. … We mailed the correct form out to everybody.”

“They reimbursed us for it,” Chervenak said. “We ended up sending the right forms out. The secretary of state got involved. We weren’t the only county. … We were able to get those voters and citizens the right forms that they needed.”

“It was all resolved prior to even the close of voter registration the last election (last summer),” Moore said.

They did not say if this might impact the decision when considering bids.

“We’ll factor in everything when we look at the bids. They have printed for us in the past, and we haven’t really had any issues with them. Everything was smooth in the last election, and that is also a plus,” Moore said.

The issue of possible redistricting was also touched on during the meeting, following rulings by the Ohio Supreme Court about whether newly drawn maps of the Ohio House and Senate districts were unconstitutionally gerrymandered.

“It’s going to be fluid,” board member Robert Quirk said.

“Three weeks ago we changed all the people that were in the 95th into the 96th and we had to fix them and put them back,” Moore said. “Everything is back to how it originally was … for now …”

In Belmont County, the decision impacts Warren, Goshen, Somerset and Wayne Townships, and a total of 7,130 voters that could switch from the 95th to the 96th district.

“Belmont County’s always been split 95th and 96th, it’s just moving a couple voters from the 95th to the 96th after this census,” Moore said.

In addition, there are two new polling locations. The Somerton Fire Department has constructed a new facility on the premises at 55717 Washington St. The new Wayne Township garage building at 55020 Main St., Beallsville is also hosting voting.

“We do send out postcards to every single registered voter in those precincts to inform them that they were moved,” Moore said. “Plus we put signs on the old building telling people here’s the new location and that we moved them.”


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