Ed Helvey was reelected as chairman of the Delaware County Board of Elections during its annual reorganizational meeting on Tuesday.
Board members include Helvey and Peg Watkins, Delaware County Democratic Party of Ohio, and Steven Cuckler and Shawn Stevens, Delaware County Republican Party. Both board and staff members are composed of equal members from the county’s two political parties.
In other reorganizational business, Karla Herron was appointed as the director and Anthony Saadey was appointed as the deputy director by the board.
Once reorganized, the oath of office was administered by Delaware County Common Pleas Court Judge James Schuck to Helvey, Cuckler and staff members.
During the regular business portion of the meeting, Todd Mullen, account manager and sales agent at RBM Consulting, conducted a status update with the board and engaged in a discussion on solving transition issues from the old voting equipment to the new equipment.
“We had our first kickoff meeting on Jan. 11, started the acceptance testing about Jan. 23, and we’ve had Monday updates each week via phone,” he said. “Last week was an in person just to go through an item checklist of things we’ve accomplished, things we still got to accomplish, and then as we’ve gone through things we’ve learned some of the things the old system did that the new system doesn’t handle exactly the same way.”
A couple of the issues reported previously by Herron and Saadey were problems with font sizes, numbers imported from the old system did not line up with the new system, and there wasn’t a place for the secretary of state’s ID.
“They cannot do bold or enlarged font sizes, which are required by the state,” Herron said at a previous meeting. “We have a numbering issue for importing our data. They’re not really matching up with our (old) system at this point, and there’s no place in the programming for inputting the secretary of state’s ID.”
Saadey said in the last board meeting, “It does meet the requirement on the paper ballot, but it does not meet it on the ballot marking device.”
During Tuesday’s meeting, Mullen said a deliverable task list had been developed to follow the issues and the solving process.
“This will always be a working document,” he said. “It will continue on through the life of the project and after the first election, we’re going to circle back and have another meeting like this and say what did we do well, and do we need to change anything.”
Stevens, who also serves as a member of State Board of Voting Machine Examiners Board, said he thought that part of the certification by the state board included testing for the bolding and font size.
“How did you pass that section of the test?” he asked.
“My recollection from the test was that was specifically called out in the paper ballot testing,” said Ben Bloom, of Unisyn Voting Solutions. “It was not required for the (touchscreen).”
Mullen’s team had made several of the needed corrections to the programming of the equipment prior to the meeting, but he admitted there were several more corrections that still need to be made before the May primary election.
“One of those things is going from a touchscreen environment to a paper environment,” he said.
Helvey said as the process moves forward, there will be things that neither the board nor RBM and Unisyn has encountered yet because of making the unique changes to the system.
Herron said the Uniformed and Overseas Citizens Absentee Voting Act ballots will begin to go out March 22.
“I think what Karla is saying is we need to be ready to go well before that,” Saadey said.
Cuckler, who pushed for a mock election of the new system to make sure it is ready for before the primary election, said, “Pick a date so we can see it, taste it, smell it.”