Some Trumbull elections workers not following rule
Poll workers’ failure to comply with rule irks Trumbull County elections director
The Trumbull County Board of Elections wants its staff to look into ways to get poll workers to better comply with an election-night rule regarding Democrats and Republicans together turning in election results to the board offices.
Director Kelly Pallante reported Monday that in 41 out of 210 voting precincts, only one poll worker made the trip to the elections board Nov. 6.
Ohio Secretary of State rules require one poll worker from each party to make the trip from the polls to the elections board — one of them driving and the other riding along. The rule is a safeguard against manipulation of the election results by one party or the other.
“We’ve gone over it and over it,” Pallante said of the training sessions before every election. “Some of them don’t get along,” she added.
Jodi Fiorenzo Dibble, deputy director, said she’s heard a variety of excuses: One of the two doesn’t like that the other smokes cigarettes, or the driver has fears over liability in the event of an accident, or the passenger has concerns about the other person’s driving abilities.
Fiorenzo-Dibble said the rule has been in effect for about four years, and there are typically 40 to 50 cases of just one poll worker turning in the results in each recent election.
She said the votes cast on the computerized voting machines are “closed out” before leaving the polling location, and the voting machines and paper ballots have a tamper-resistant seal, so tampering is “unlikely,” she said.
Fiorenzo Dibble said she’s not aware that there’s ever been a suspicion of vote tampering as a result of only one poll worker dropping off the results.
Alexis Zoldan, deputy press secretary for Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, said Husted’s office was made aware of the issue by a Trumbull County field representative Monday and is “taking it very seriously.”
Asked how common or serious it is, Zoldan said, “I’d be happy to dig deeper when we have more information.”
Each poll worker in the vehicle delivering the results is paid something extra to return the results — the driver gets paid mileage, the passenger gets an hour’s wages.