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Cost of early voting site divides Summit elections board

By admin Published: November 16, 2010

Stephanie Warsmith
Beacon Journal staff writer

The Summit County elections board remains divided about whether to have an alternate early voting site.

The board squabbled over issues at the Job Center, where early voting was available during the 35-day absentee period.

Now the board can't agree on how much extra the early voting site cost.

Brian Daley, the board's Republican chairman, estimated the expense at about $50,000 in a letter to the editor that appeared Tuesday in the Beacon Journal.

His letter was in response to a Nov. 9 Beacon Journal editorial that said ''much of the cost'' for running the Job Center involved employees who would have been working in the board's main Grant Street office anyway.

Tim Gorbach, a Democratic board member, called out Daley during a Tuesday board meeting for writing the letter. Gorbach especially criticized Daley for using figures Deputy Director Ron Koehler, a Republican, compiled without consulting with Marijean Donofrio, the board's Democratic director.

Donofrio pegs the additional costs much lower. She said her cursory review showed about $23,000. She said she found some errors in Koehler's calculations, such as including overtime expenses that were actually from the August election.

She plans to do a more thorough analysis.

Gorbach said Daley should have brought the cost issue up during a board meeting, instead of raising it in a letter. He pointed to this as another example of the board's inability to cooperate.

Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner recently scolded the four-member board — two Republicans and two Democrats — for sending her more tie votes to decide than any other board in the state.

''This is another example of the partisanship and not working together,'' Gorbach said.

Daley said he was responding to the editorial and thinks determining the costs of an alternate early voting site is important. He said he qualified Koehler's figures as ''estimates.''

Gorbach said original estimates had the cost for the Job Center running between $25,000 and $50,000.

The board will meet again at 9 a.m. Wednesday to decide whether to include about 400 provisional ballots in the official results for the Nov. 2 election, which must be certified by Nov. 23.

The board made calls Tuesday on numerous other provisional and absentee ballots.

The board will be watching to see if the addition of the provisional and absentee ballots makes any difference in the outcome of the third position for Summit County Council and a Twinsburg fire levy. Both were close in the unofficial results.


Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or swarsmith@thebeaconjournal.com.
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