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State To Monitor Miami County Elections Board After Vote Count Error

Maureen Gilreath
Flickr Creative Commons

Human error was to blame for thousands of Miami County votes going uncounted during last fall’s midterm elections, an investigation by the Ohio Secretary of State's office has revealed. State officials say they'll closely monitor the county's Board of Elections this election season.

The state's investigation found more than 6,000 early votes went uncounted last fall because board staff members shut down voting machines improperly.

Miami County elections officials later tallied the votes after the error was discovered. Secretary of State Frank LaRose says the mishap didn’t affect election outcomes.

“There was no technological error. The machines functioned exactly the way they're supposed to. There was no malicious intent,” says LaRose, “but what we did have is a human error.”

The director of Miami County’s Board of Elections was fired after the error was found.

Read the report.

And LaRose put the board on administrative oversight, which means it’s following a state-designed improvement plan, and is required to participate in regular check-ins with the Secretary of State’s office.

“What we're trying to do is make sure that they have the right expertise to get things on the right footing going forward,” says LaRose. “We'll maintain this administrative oversight until I decide that Miami County is ready to emerge from this.”

While no other county boards are currently under state oversight, the practice isn’t unprecedented in Ohio.

Both Cuyahoga and Lucas Counties have been placed on administrative oversight in the past 15 years.


Editor's note: this story was corrected to reflect that the director of Miami County’s Board of Elections was fired, and did not resign.  

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April Laissle is a graduate of Ohio University and comes to WYSO from WOUB Public Media in Athens, Ohio where she worked as a weekend host and reporter. There, she reported on everything from food insecurity to 4-H chicken competitions. April interned at KQED Public Radio in San Francisco, where she focused on health reporting. She also worked on The Broad Experience, a New-York based podcast about women and workplace issues. In her spare time, April loves traveling, trying new recipes and binge-listening to podcasts. April is a Florida native and has been adjusting to Ohio weather since 2011.