By Janie Southard
WAPAKONETA -- The optical scan system used in the November election was not popular with county voters and they weren't hesitant to speak up at the election board meeting Tuesday.
Voters lodged complaints that the county is "regressing, moving backward, stepped backward about 50 years," and a whole series of similar complaints centered around the absence of the touch screen machines used the past couple years.
Lack of privacy while voting was another big issue, as well as statewide. Some more expressive voters even likened the privacy problem to being back in school under a teacher's watchful eye.
At the monthly meeting held Tuesday, Auglaize County Board of Elections board members reviewed complaints and discussed possible solutions such as rearranging the setup of the polling places and devising a better use of the tri-fold privacy shields.
The mix-up in St. Marys where voters were given ballots for St. Marys Township in error will be remedied, board members hoped, by relocating where township voters cast their ballots. Board members discussed various possibilities. The board also discussed providing more comprehensive, hands-on training for poll workers and refresher courses for precinct judges, which some voters claimed were not doing a proper job.
Board member Diana Hausfeld, Minster, circulated to board members a typed list of suggestions for improvements to be made before the May election.
"One thing we need to do is make sure poll workers park across the street from the St. Marys union hall which will free up spaces for voters to park," she said adding there were 42 poll workers' cars taking up the prime spaces.
She also suggested a grading system for judges and workers such as Allen County has. "That way we'd know what we missed in training," she said.
Setting up a method to vote at Joint Township District Memorial Hospital was another of Hausfeld's concerns.
"We contacted the hospital about this prior to the election but no one called us back," Election Board Director Linda Huber pointed out.
Following a lengthy executive session called to discuss employee compensation, the board passed a motion to give the three election board employees a full day off on Dec. 23 and Dec. 30, days formerly slated for four hours off with pay.
The board will meet next on Dec. 28 at 1 p.m. to inventory equipment and discuss any other matter that may need attention before the January meeting.