TRUMBULL COUNTY Board starts preparing for Feb. 8 special election

The board's punch-card readers need repair.
WARREN -- The Trumbull County Board of Elections is assessing its equipment and personnel needs for the Feb. 8 special election.
There will be 52 precincts open on that day, said Norma Williams, elections director.
The first problem is, the board has three punch-card readers -- one is a loaner -- and two are broken. They date from the early 1980s and have been repaired before. One needs a belt.
The board will seek an opinion on whether it can use some of the $2,740 put into a special fund for last year's presidential recount to have the repairs done. The equipment stopped working during that recount, leaving one card reader and two staffers to handle the job.
Presidential candidates for the Green and Libertarian parties requested the recount and paid for it. The county's staff did the job on a regular workday at no extra cost so the $2,740 remains in the special fund.
Also, the board lost one employee to retirement at year's end; no decision has been made on hiring a replacement. A determination will be made on how many temporary workers -- Republicans and Democrats -- will be needed for the special election.
School districts
Precincts open by school district on Feb. 8 will be:
UBloomfield-Mespo Local: Bloomfield, Mesopotamia A and B (excludes part of A).
UBristol Local, Bristol A-B-C, Farmington, West Farmington.
UBrookfield Local: Brookfield A through N.
UCardinal Local: Mesopotamia A (excludes part of A, also includes Geauga County).
UNiles City School District: Niles city (excludes all of 1D, 1E and part of 1A, 1C, 1F, 2A, 2G, 4A and 4B); Weathersfield E and H and part of A.
On Tuesday, the elections board certified the recount of presidential votes, in which President Bush gained one vote. The board had set aside two days for counting the 110,747 ballots but wrapped up its work Dec. 20.
The board also agreed to subpoena two elderly county residents for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 18 so that they might explain their instances of double voting in November.
Ohio Secretary of State field representative Myke Clarett said the state is hopeful that some Ohio counties can roll out new electronic voting equipment this year.
Trumbull County is willing but wasn't able to switch to electronic voting machines for the November election because of Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell's concerns about the machines' security.
This was the third time Blackwell has postponed implementation of the Diebold machines in Trumbull County. Board of elections officials have repeatedly said they are confident in the machines' security.
Thirty-one counties had originally planned to replace their machines for last year's election, but most backed out as the election drew closer. Most of those counties, like Trumbull, use punch-card ballots.

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