GALLIPOLIS — According to Gallia Board of Elections officials, Gallia will not be seeing a spring primary election this year.
Four individuals have turned in applications and petitions for one of two open seats on Gallipolis City Commission. Assuming final approval and no issues with those applications and petitions, March 4, by the board, those running for office include Arun Sharma, Steven McDaniel, past Commissioner Michael Brown and incumbent Commissioner Michael Fulks. According to officials, had there been five or more candidates, it would have sparked a primary.
New voting equipment has been trickling into the board office as the board will replace its aging electronic touch voting machines with paper ballot reading machines in this upcoming November election.
The state is set to contribute around $427,000 to the effort to upgrade the machines.
“There’s three types of voting machines,” said Board of Elections Executive Director Dale Whitt. “Touchscreen, paper and hybrid, which is a crossover. Paper is the cheapest and touchscreen is middle and hybrids are very expensive. Touchscreens are a little bit beyond our reach. A lot of counties statewide are making the switch to paper. It’s a county by county and money by money decision. A lot of the counties that are going with some of the touchscreens can be considered bigger.”
Gallia County reportedly started using its touchscreen voting machines in November 2005.
“At that time, and this is secondhand information as I wasn’t here yet (as director),” said Whitt. “The word was those machines had a lifespan of five years.”
Whitt said the Ohio Secretary of State is strongly encouraging the machines be in operation before the 2020 election. Reportedly, there will be one machine per polling location with 26 precincts to cover. One will also be housed in the Board of Elections Office in the Gallia Courthouse for early voting measures.
Special election deadline submissions are May 8 and, should a special election be held, it would fall on the date of Aug. 6. If there is a special election, those who have not already registered to vote would need to do so by July 8 in order to vote in the special election.
The upcoming local election will include two city commissioner seats to be considered, one township trustee and fiscal officer for township seats. The Gallipolis City Schools Board will have three seats to be considered and Gallia Local Schools Board of Education will have two seats to be determined. Village councils and mayors may be considered as well.
Dean Wright can be reached 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.