JEFFERSON — Ashtabula County’s Board of Elections is looking for a few good people to help ensure a flawless May 8 primary election.
Precinct election officials, the folks who assist voters at polling places, are in short supply. Enough are available to work the May 8 primary — as long as no one calls in sick.
There are “zero” substitutes available in case a scheduled worker can’t work Election Day, said Duane Feher, director, at a Wednesday morning meeting.
“Poll workers are hard to find,” he said. “Other counties are going through the same issues.”
Typically, the board employ 416 workers for each county-wide election: four people to staff each of the 104 precincts. Those slots have been filled, but almost a month remains before the primary — enough time for illness or other circumstances to force someone to step aside. If that happens, as of Wednesday morning, no one was available to take their place.
Administrators working hard to find back-ups are hoping local high school students come to the rescue. Workers must be 18 years old and registered to vote, and many seniors meet that requirement, said Carol Lovas, deputy director.
“We keep trying to pick them up,” she said.
Complicating that plan, however, might be a school testing period that is typically scheduled at the time of the primary, officials said.
In addition to the age minimum and voter registration requirement, precinct election officials must:
• Be a U.S. citizen
• Live in the county where they plan to serve
• Have no felony convictions
• Not be a candidate in the election they plan to work
Workers are paid $114 for Election Day (6 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.) and $10 to attend a training session. There is still time for people to sign up to be trained and work May 8, officials said. Contact the election board office, 8 W. Walnut St., Jefferson, for information.
In other business, officials said there was no new information regarding a potential case of voter fraud committed by Reginald Holman, who resigned his seat on Ashtabula City Council early last week. The board, after reviewing evidence presented at a hearing in March, ruled Holman provided an incorrect address when registering to vote. Holman gave a West 43rd Street address at the time, but the board ruled evidence indicated he was actually residing with his parents in Plymouth Township at the time he registered.
Holman’s name has been removed from the roll of eligible voters. Should he vote in the May 8 primary, it will be considered a provisional ballot subject to review by the board.
Late last month, the board asked the Ashtabula County Prosecutor’s office to determine if voter fraud had been committed. County Prosecutor Nicholas Iarocci declined comment on the status of the investigation Wednesday.
The Ashtabula County grand jury indicted Holman, 56, on charges of election falsification and falsification of petitions. Holman, a Democrat, is accused of submitting a false address when filing his candidacy declaration for the Ward 3 seat in the 2017 elections.
The charges are fifth-degree felonies, which carry a possible jail sentence and fine upon conviction.