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Election staff sworn in, new ‘election facilitator’ posts also announced

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — The Belmont County Board of Elections has announced new positions that will be in effect during the upcoming May 2 primary election.

Eberle Ferrell and Emma Lewis were sworn into the newly-created positions of “election facilitator.”

Election Director Aaron Moore said the facilitators would take over the duties of the former information technology staff member.

“The position entails just a lot more closer work with poll workers, with setting up polling locations, along with setting up all the equipment at polling locations,” he said.

“We used to have an IT on-staff, so it’s a blend of election IT and poll worker training. It’s just giving a little more responsibilities to some of our workers.”

He said the facilitators will also continue regular work of training poll workers and staffing locations.

“They’re in charge of setting the locations up, staffing the locations with poll workers,” Moore said. “As of right now, we’re working on getting them a little more trained with the equipment that we use here in our office. They have been going through a little more advanced training.”

Board member Michael Shaheen said the board believes this change would be more efficient.

“We had a person who was solely responsible for IT-related matters. We as a board feel that we should have people who can multitask rather than just one,” he said. “When we didn’t replace him, for a fraction of his salary and expense, these two agreed to increase their duties, get specifically trained to not only provide IT but … assist with other facets that they have exemplified.”

“The beauty is, they have a familiarity with all the aspects of the office, everybody in the office. If they had to be thrown in to greet somebody at the front door, they could do it, and if we had a crisis with a ballot getting stuck, they could help with that,” Shaheen said. “It’s making sure our numbers match up with what’s coming out of the polls. They can cover either end.”

Board member Frankie Lee Carnes said Ferrell has been with the elections office since 2019, and Lewis since 2020.

“They are capable of doing anything we ask,” she said. “They have been exemplary employees and we wanted to give them the opportunity.”

Carnes said the board does not foresee training more facilitators at this time.

Also sworn in were clerks Penny Frizzi and Suzanne Hynes, who have been on staff for 18 and four years, respectively.

In other matters, Moore said the board continues to seek poll workers. People belonging to a political party. He said the coming election is expected to be smaller, with only three poll workers and most locations, but a full staff of four at some.

The next meeting is 4 p.m. March 27 at the board office, 52180 National Rd E, St. Clairsville.

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