breaking news

Miami County leaders meet to discuss the 6,200 votes that went uncounted this past election

Published: Saturday, January 19, 2019 @ 10:20 AM
Updated: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 @ 5:42 PM

Miami County Board of Elections members talk Thursday night at a meeting. Shown from left are David Fisher, Audrey Gillespie and Rob Long. The fourth board member, Ryan King, was out of town and did not attend. STAFF/STEVE BAKER
Miami County Board of Elections members talk Thursday night at a meeting. Shown from left are David Fisher, Audrey Gillespie and Rob Long. The fourth board member, Ryan King, was out of town and did not attend. STAFF/STEVE BAKER

UPDATE: 5:43 P.M.

A Miami County Board of Elections meeting is currently being held in regards to the reported 6,200 votes that went uncounted in the November election. 

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News Center 7’s Sean Cudahy is at the meeting where a discussion is talking place about getting new voting equipment to remedy the problem. Also being discussed at the meeting is an external investigation and possible discipline of the employees involved in the missed votes.

We will continue to update this story with the latest information from the special meeting. 

EARLIER REPORT: 

More than 6,200 early votes cast in Miami County were not included in the Nov. 6 election results, the Dayton Daily News has learned.

Election outcomes were not affected, elections officials said.

The county Board of Elections will meet Tuesday to amend the official election results.

Board Chairman Dave Fisher said a full investigation into what happened will continue.

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The discrepancy occurred on Election Night when voting equipment did not pull all of the vote total data.

The 6,288 uncounted votes were discovered when the Secretary of State’s Office reviewed the election results and contacted the elections office Dec. 20 because numbers did not match the county’s voter history.

The votes uncounted were those cast by early voters who came to the elections office at the county courthouse and voted on the touch-screen voting machines. The certified totals did include the paper absentee ballots.

Fisher said the results were checked to ensure there were no changes in race outcomes, issue outcomes or any votes that ended up qualifying for an automatic recount.

“That is the saving grace,” he said.

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He added, though, that the problems point to the need for a new voting system. The board has been debating options for months, and Fisher said the board will vote on one Tuesday.

The agenda for that meeting was updated Friday to state the executive session on employee discipline could include termination.

“We will move forward with an investigation. We will see,” Fisher said. “We as a board could lose our job. There could be some staff members lose their jobs.”

Russell Wheeler of Troy, Miami County Democratic Party chairman, said there needs to be transparency for the voters of the county and those personnel responsible should be held accountable.

“I expect the Board of Elections to do the right thing,” Wheeler said.

Republican Party Chairman John “Bud” O’Brien of Monroe Twp. said Saturday he would have “no comment at this time.”

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A special meeting called for Thursday was to address the 2018 election results issue along with new voting equipment for the county and an executive session to discuss employee discipline.

The meeting agenda was tabled until Tuesday’s meeting, which was the board’s regular monthly session, after board member Ryan King protested the special meeting because he was unable to attend.

Board members Rob Long and Fisher voted to table the meeting agenda, while member Audrey Gillespie voted “no,” saying she thought the board needed to act on the 2018 election results agenda item for “transparency.”

Documents obtained through public records requests filed Friday with the elections office showed the differences in the votes certified on Nov. 26 and the proposed amended results the board will be asked to approve.

For example, the county vote total for State Issue One was listed Nov. 26 as 35,941. On the proposed amended report, the vote total is 41,558.

The closet local issues vote on Election Night was a levy for the Bethel Local Schools in Bethel Twp. The Nov. 26 certified vote shows the levy passing 1,680 to 1,554. The proposed amended results show it passing 1,938 to 1,806.

Fisher said there were issues with numbers on Election Night, but election officials were assured the problem was corrected early in the count.

He provided a recording of a telephone discussion earlier this month with representatives of the equipment vendor. In that discussion by Fisher and Ian Ridgeway, deputy elections director, and two vendor representatives, topics included what likely happened on Election Night and how to prevent it was discussed. A representative of the vendor was on site Election Night in the counting room.

The discussion also included the post-election reconciling of poll books and ballots and why a discrepancy wasn’t noted.

“This is just dumbfounding to me,” Fisher said.