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Board of elections continues voter verification

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Oct 29, 2015 at 12:11 PM

The Huron County board of elections discussed the continuing verification of every address in the county, handicapped accessibility to polling places and possible changes in polling places for upcoming elections at a meeting this morning.

The board's precinct finder project which verifies each address by city, village or township; school district; voting precinct; and zip code is now focusing on smaller roads and rural areas, said Tom Gerrity, deputy director of the board.

"It is an ongoing thing," he said, because of annexations and new homes built. "We knew Norwalk was a problem and it has been fixed."

The board faced controversy last fall when Lynn Chapin, who had been notified by the board that her address was moved into the first ward in Norwalk after council redrew ward lines based on the 2000 census, ran for City Council. After a voter questioned her residency, it turned out Chapin was actually in the fourth ward.

Several other city addresses turned out to be in the wrong wards in the board's computer system.

"Those corrections were made," Gerrity said, adding that the board is constantly updating its records. He said property changes such as lot splits and homes built in rural areas can require research to determine exactly which precinct residents fall into.

One home was built where the driveway began in the Norwalk school district, he said. Because the homeowners chose to build their home on the back portion of the lot, he said, the house actually falls into the Monroeville school district.

Gerrity said the board is also assessing each polling place for handicap accessibility. He said new guidelines from the Ohio Secretary of State require polling places to have a five-foot sign designating handicapped parking instead of just pavement markings.

The board decided to talk to the Huron County Engineer to get the cost for uniform signs for polling places that don't already have the signs. The board could get a grant for temporary signs that the board would use for each election.

The board also discussed moving precincts from the Willard Senior Enrichment Center to a church that already has two precincts three blocks away. Gerrity and Director Sharon Locke will meet with representatives from the Willard center soon. Possible parking problems and interference with activities at the senior center will be discussed.

Susan Ruggles, who has served on the board for six years, has handed in her resignation effective April 30. The Huron County Republican Executive Committee will meet to select someone to replace Ruggles and then forward that name to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will appoint Ruggles' replacement.

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