Miami County Board of Elections hires new director

Published: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 @ 8:23 PM
Updated: Tuesday, April 23, 2019 @ 9:48 PM

The Miami County election vote discrepancy Nov. 6 was caused by "inadequate human processes and preparations," not anything unlawful or malicious, Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose said Thursday.

The deputy director of the Mercer County Board of Elections hired today as the new Miami County elections director said she'll work to help restore voter confidence in the local election system.

>>RELATED: Uncounted votes in Miami County prompt meeting

"Miami County presents a challenge," said Laura Bruns of Coldwater. "Goal number one, obviously, is to increase and improve the confidence of the voters of Miami County in this board of elections office and the staff and board." 

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Bruns has 11 years elections experience in Mercer County, where she has served as director and deputy director. 

She will fill the director position vacated when the board in January fired Director Bev Kendall following the November election when more than 6,000 early votes were not counted. 

The error resulted in an investigation and the elections operation being placed on oversight by Secretary of State John Husted. 

"I believe Laura Bruns is the right person to be the new director .... to help restore voters and taxpayers trust and confidence in the election process in Miami County," said board member Rob Long. 

Laura Bruns begins her new job as Miami County Board of Elections director on May 3.

The vote was 4-0. Bruns is to start her new job May 13. 

>> RELATED: Election error gets Miami County placed under state oversight

Bruns was one of four candidates who received in-person interviews during the director search. She is a Republican and will be paid $51,500 a year. 

Deputy Director Ian Ridgeway, a Democrat, was voted a raise to the same amount from his current pay of $49,889. The board traditionally has paid the director and deputy director the same amount. 

Ridgeway, hired in October, has been running the elections office since Kendall's departure. 

He won praise from board member Audrey Gillespie and from board Chairman Dave Fisher. 

"Mr. Ridgeway has done a fantastic job in the interim," Fisher said.