The Miami County Board of Elections Feb. 15 certified candidates and issues for the May ballot and agreed to begin the process of discussing in depth the options for new voting equipment for the county.
 
Candidates certified for the ballot were: Bill Beagle, Republican, Tipp City, county commissioners; Stacy Wall, Republican, Tipp City, common pleas judge; Matt Gearhardt, Republican, county auditor; and Republicans for 80th District state representative, John “Bud” O’Brien of Monroe Township, George Lovett of Tipp City, J.D. Winteregg of Troy and Jena Powell of Arcanum.
 
A Democratic write in candidate – Scott R. Zimmerman of Troy – has filed for the state representative seat. The district covers Miami and a portion of Darke County.
 
The board in recent weeks saw presentations from equipment vendors who demonstrated the various options now available in Ohio for voting. Election boards for the past few years have been discussing replacing the county’s touch screen voting machines purchased with federal money in 2005.
 
Equipment demonstrated including those for paper and electronic ballots. Elections Director Bev Kendall said vendors would be asked to provide quotes on all options.
 
The board first will discuss the presentations.
 
“I want to talk about what we learned,” said board member Ryan King.
 
Board Chairman Dave Fisher agreed, adding, the meeting should occur while details remain “fresh in our minds.”
 
Discussions should include county IT department representatives, who attended demonstrations, along with the county commissioners, board members said.
 
Board member Rob Long said the commissioners definitely need to be at discussions, if interested. “Ultimately, they will be the ones authorizing expenditures,” he said.
 
Fisher said all members will have opinions on the options. “At the end of the day, it will be our decision,” he said of the equipment.
 
Who will pay for new equipment has not been determined. Discussions at the state level on possible funding through the state capital or another budget are “still in limbo,” said Luke Scott, deputy elections director.