All candidates who filed petitions for Hillsboro city offices in the 2017 election have been certified, according to Steve Witham, election administrator for the Highland County Board of Elections.
The filing deadline for Republican and Democratic party candidates was 4 p.m. Wednesday. After petition signatures were verified, the election board met Thursday morning and certified the candidates.
As reported earlier, candidates who filed were as follows, with (i) denoting incumbents:
• Municipal Court Judge: David H. McKenna (i), Democrat.
• President of Council: Lee Koogler (i), Republican.
• City Treasurer: Patricia Burns, Democrat; Amy Robinson, Republican.
• Council-at-Large: Brandon Leeth, Democrat; Tracy Aranyos (i) (currently representsWard 3), Republican; Justin Harsha (i), Republican; Ann E. Morris (i), Republican.
• Council Ward 1: Rob Smith, Democrat; Adam Wilkin, Republican.
• Council Ward 2: Jason L. Burns, Democrat; Claudia Klein (i), Republican.
• Council Ward 3: Tim Countryman, Democrat; Sharolyn L. Moore, Republican.
• Council Ward 4: Mary B. Stanforth, Democrat; Jason Grove, Republican; Joseph Mahan, Republican.
Candidates not affiliated with either party have until May 1 to file for city offices, the same deadline for candidates for a variety of offices on the November ballot that are considered nonpartisan, including township, school board and village races.
Witham said that the only partisan primary contest on May 2 will be on the Republican side for Ward 4 council, where GOP candidates Jason Grove and Joe Mahan will square off. Only voters in that ward will see candidate names on the ballot.
However, all voters throughout Highland County and four other counties will decide a levy that day for the Paint Valley Alcohol, Drug Addiction & Mental Health Services (ADAMH) in what is technically considered a special election.
The 1-mill, 10-year levy would generate $4.6 million annually and cost the owner of a $100,000 property approximately $35 a year. Created in 1967, ADAMH serves a five-county area that includes Highland, Fayette, Pickaway, Pike and Ross counties. Last November, voters in those five counties cast 52,526 votes against a similar levy and 40,378 votes for it.
Meanwhile, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted this week issued a press release urging county boards of elections to implement the use of electronic pollbooks (e-pollbooks) ahead of the end of the state’s fiscal year on June 30.
The release stated that in 2015, the General Assembly appropriated $12.75 million as part of the current biennial budget cycle in order to aid county governments in covering the cost of upgrading to e-pollbooks. Boards must submit the necessary documentation to the Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) by May 31 in order to receive funding.
“E-Pollbooks represent a huge improvement in election technology by speeding up check-in times at the polls, reducing lines and providing more direction to both election officials and voters so we can improve the experience for everyone,” Husted said. “This is an opportunity for county boards to upgrade their equipment at a significantly reduced cost and they should not let this opportunity pass them by.”
The state funding is intended to cover up to 85 percent of each county’s purchase cost with funds being distributed based on the number of voters in each county at the time of the bill’s enactment. Any unused funds at the end of the fiscal year will be forfeited.
To date, 61 counties, including Highland, have implemented e-pollbook technology, with 21 having done so prior to the approval of the grant money. Counties that had already implemented e-pollbooks at the time the legislation was passed were still eligible to take part in the state grant program in order to recoup part of the costs associated with the upgrade.
Though boards of elections are under no requirement to implement the new technology, Husted has urged them to do, saying it has proven to significantly improve experiences at the polls for both voters and election officials.
According to a description from the secretary of states office, “E-pollbooks eliminate the need for poll workers to flip through bulky printed pollbooks to locate a voter. Instead, when a voter arrives at a polling location to cast a ballot, e-pollbooks allow elections officials to quickly and accurately pull up the voter’s information by either entering their name or by simply scanning an identification card, like a driver’s license. Counties already using e-pollbooks have reported a decrease in the amount of time it takes for a voter to check in at a polling location.”
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