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Friday, October 31, 2014
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Published: Thursday, 11/10/2005

The election board fiasco

HOW much longer must the citizens of Lucas County endure the embarrassment of their board of elections?

The gang that can't count straight didn't even show up for work Wednesday, evidently done in by illness and fatigue: they were sick and tired of being there.

Well, the taxpayers are sick and tired of the Amateur Hour that the board of elections has become in recent years, and if this is the best that new director Jill Kelly can do, she needs to leave immediately.

The unofficial vote count from Tuesday's election was not completed until 7 a.m. Wednesday, and the tally was not supplied to the news media and the public until 9 a.m.! Lucas County was the last of Ohio's 88 counties to report its results to Columbus, a woeful performance that certainly is the worst in anyone's memory in this county.

Since the election also marked the first time the county had used the new touch-screen voting machines at every voting location, it would be easy to blame the technology. But that's ridiculous; the machines worked well by most accounts.

We blame the people.

Ms. Kelly cites the fact that she didn't have enough poll workers to do the job, that some who had promised to show up did not. Alibis, nothing more. It is her job to ensure she has sufficient people and make certain they are adequately trained.

It was an unforgivable failure by public employees when the news media - The Blade, the television stations, radio - were not able to provide definitive if unofficial election results to their readers, viewers, and listeners before most of Lucas County went to bed.

The office of Secretary of State Ken Blackwell promises an investigation, but it doesn't take a deductive genius to figure out that once again the elections board and its staff have screwed up.

And for those keeping score at home, it certainly is not the first time. Last April all four members of the board were fired for election mistakes and mismanagement. The office politics and back-biting was notorious and an open wound.

Obviously, despite the changes, the board of elections remains a soap opera without end. Secretary Blackwell can conduct his investigation, but it's clear that this bunch should follow the last inept board right out the door.



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