Pictured: Shana Fair, Byesville Rotary President, and Lori Banfield, Deputy Director, Guernsey County Board of Elections.
Lori Banfield, Deputy director of the Guernsey County Board of Election, spoke to Byesville Rotary about the work that “poll worker” do in this new age of technology. Banfield stated that she began working as a poll worker and gradually worked up to her current position. She pointed out the term “poll workers” is obsolete and has been replaced by the title “Precinct Election Official.”
Guernsey County has 35 precincts and needs 4 precinct election officials per precinct—a total of 140 workers--for each election. Workers are always needed. People interested in serving as a precinct election official need to fill out an application form which is available at the County Board of Elections office.
Election hours are long. During presidential and gubernatorial races, precinct election officials must arrive at the polling location by 5:30 am to set up equipment. When the polls close at 7:30 pm, workers must tear down. Precinct mangers are also responsible for picking up and returning supplies. Precinct officials earn $120 for their work at the polls plus $15 for the training that is required as part of the job.
Banfield pointed out that Ohio has a system of checks and balances built into the voting system to help prevent voter fraud. Two of the precinct workers must be Democrats and 2 must be Republicans. The goal of the Board of Election is to have enough checks and balances to make it “Easy to vote; hard to cheat.”
Banfield was asked if there was much voter fraud in Guernsey County. She replied that in the 17 years she has worked for the Board of elections only 1 person has been prosecuted. The case was more a lack of communication rather than a deliberate attempt to cheat. The case involved a parent who applied for and signed an application for an absentee ballot for a child away at school. The parent was unaware that the child had voted at school using a provisional ballet.
Not knowing the rules can get a well meaning voter into trouble. Banfield recommended that any voter who has a question should call the Board of Elections and get an answer.
Banfield stated that Guernsey County has about 23,000 people eligible to vote. Not all of those eligible are registered to vote. Anyone who has not voted in 2 years will get a card warning them that they have been purged from polling books and need to reregister. Voters can check their status by contacting the Board of Elections. More information is available at: https://sites.google.com/site/guernseycountyboe/Home
Connect with Byesville Rotary at: www.Byesvillerotary.blogspot.com or https://www.facebook.com/pages/Byesville-Rotary/256548047818283. The club meets 7:30 am, Tuesday at the Stop Nine Senior Center at 60313 (GPS use 60299) Southgate Road, Byesville. Walk-ins are welcome at the club’s meeting.