DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Boards of elections officials from across the Miami Valley came to Dayton Tuesday to talk all-things general election, especially early voting and what is being done to ensure this election is secure.
Boards of Elections officials are getting ready for the third statewide election cycle of the year. Preparations for the November 8 general election were already going on during the August special primary.
“We’ve got all the items checked off of our list,” Miami County Board of Elections Director Laura Bruns said. “So far, we’re in good shape, we’re ready for early voting to start next week.”
Early voting polling locations will open at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, October 12 for the start of early voting.
Boards of elections will have their early voting locations open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Those hours and days will increase closer to Election Day.
With big races on the ballot, like Ohio governor, and U.S. senate, elections officials expect even the polls to be busy.
“We do think it will be on par for a regular gubernatorial, maybe up a little bit. So we’re we’re talking mid-50s, if not up to 60-some odd percent turnout that we would be hoping for,” Montgomery County Board of Elections Director Jeff Rezabek said.
Along with early voting, absentee ballots will go out October 12.
With concerns and mistrust around the voting process, Ohio Secretary of State Liason Kenny Henning said making Ohio’s elections secure is a top priority.
“It’s something that is ever changing,” Henning said. “There’s no one fix solution for cyber security. It’s always evolving, and with that, you have to be evolving best practices to combat it.”
Elections officials said it takes weeks of testing, training and preparing before an election can happen.
If you drop off an absentee ballot to a county’s drop location, each ballot drop box is monitored by video surveillance. The box is double locked, and is only accessible by one republican and one democrat who empty the box at least once a day.
Any handling of ballots or voting machines is done by a bipartisan team. No ballots are counted until election night.
“Once the early voting begins and there’s ballots coming in, it is a team that goes and handles those ballots together, and then they’re secured in a unique location,” Rezabek said.
There’s additional security measures boards of elections go through every election. All machines and tabulators are checked and tested. Every ballot’s signature is hand-checked and verified. If the a red flag is raised, the voter will receive a notice to correct it, or the vote it not counted.
For more information about what Ohio does to secure its elections, click here.