August Vote Puts Election Board Move on Hold
May 25, 2023 by Amy Patterson

A move by the Ohio General Assembly to reintroduce an August ballot is creating challenge for boards of election across the state — and Geauga is no exception.

A move by the Ohio General Assembly to reintroduce an August ballot is creating challenge for boards of election across the state — and Geauga is no exception.

The resurrected election day may put off the BOE’s move to the county administrative building on Ravenwood Drive, said Michelle Lane, director of the Geauga County Board of Elections.

“Due to the election, I do not believe any move is imminent,” she said.

BOE staff were looking forward to having downtime between elections to do “housekeeping” and catching up over the summer, but will instead be preparing for and executing a county-wide election, Lane said.

“Some of our staff had summer vacations planned for the first time in several years,” she added.

Boards of election have worked hard since 2020 to adapt to the challenges of both the COVID-19 pandemic and a convoluted redistricting process which saw new district maps repeatedly rejected by the Ohio Supreme Court.

The election is mainly for the purpose of floating a statewide issue that would require any future constitutional amendment to be approved by at least 60% of the voters, according to a May 10 directive issued by Ohio Secretary of State Frank LaRose.

According to LaRose, the amendment also makes two changes to the initiative petition process for proposing amendments to the state constitution: the first, to eliminate the 10-day cure period to gather additional signatures; and the second, to require petition signatures from at least 5% of the electors of each county in the state, instead of half of the counties.

“If the proposed constitutional amendment is approved by a majority vote of the electors, it takes effect immediately. However, the new requirements for initiative petitions proposing constitutional amendments would first apply to petitions filed on or after Jan. 1, 2024,” LaRose said.

The filing deadline for local questions and issues was 4 p.m. May 10, Lane said.

“We had no filings as August elections had previously been eliminated by our state legislatures except for local fiscal emergencies,” she said.

LaRose’s directive tells boards of election around the state they must begin immediate preparations for the election, including recruiting poll workers.

Lane said it has historically been more difficult to secure polling locations and election workers for August elections.

“And now we have a short amount of time to do so,” she said. “We will always do our best to serve the voters of Geauga County and we will prepare and administer this election as we would any other election.”