With the Aug. 8 special election decided, Wayne County Board of Elections Director Julie Leathers-Stahl was thrilled to see an increase in voter turnout, according to a Wayne County government news release
“We have seen more people turnout for this special election, especially on the early vote side; there were more than 5,000,” Stahl said in the news release. “Normally, August elections have a very low turnout. But, this was a hot-button issue; it has gotten a lot of press, and there has been a lot of interest in it.”
A special election is a unique event that occurs outside the regular election cycle. This type of election is typically held to fill a vacant political office or address a specific issue or proposal. In this case, Issue 1 asked eligible Ohio voters to consider an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Ohio proposed by a two-thirds majority of the Ohio General Assembly.
According to the Wayne County Board of Elections website, a total of 30,113 Wayne County voters (41.59 percent of registered voters) cast ballots on Aug. 8. In Wayne County, the vote was 17,595 yes for the amendment and 12,492 voted no against the state issue. State and national media reported that statewide, the issue was voted down.
Whether there are one or 10 issues on the ballot, Stahl and her staff work tirelessly — getting to work well before sunrise on Election Day — to ensure election integrity.
“We start Election Day at 4:30 a.m.,” Stahl said. “All poll workers must adhere to a procedure to get their machines set up, so they get started on that, and then we begin with any troubleshooting they may need.”
Stahl explained that she and her team troubleshoot issues throughout the day, and there are peaks and valleys.
“It can be quiet, and then the phone will ring 10 or 12 times in five minutes,” she said. “At night, it will ramp back up when the election draws to a close.”
Stahl, who has served as director of the BOE since 2016, said that the election numbers surpassed those of the May election.
“We absolutely love this level of community involvement. That is why we are here,” she continued. “Voting is important, and it is a right that everyone has. We love to see robust turnouts.”
For Stahl and her staff, it does not matter if there is one issue on the ballot or 20 — a November election or August — security and integrity are of utmost importance to her and her team.
“Our processes are the same for any election; there are two sets of bipartisan eyes on each ballot from the time it is cast until it is counted,” she said. “This was a countywide election, so we went full bore.”
Stahl said a large number of poll workers have signed up recently, and it turned out to be a good thing.
“We recruited and signed up additional poll workers,” she said. “We had a flu outbreak, and many had to call off. We had enough, but it ended up being close. We will continue recruiting poll workers so that we are in good shape in the November election.”
Stahl said her office has also been busy preparing for the Aug. 9 candidate and issue filing deadline.
For additional information about voting or to learn more about becoming a paid poll worker, visit www.waynecountyoh.gov