PREBLE COUNTY — With issues going back to the primary elections in March, it’s been a long and challenging election cycle for the Preble County Board of Elections, but it was mostly issue-free this past week during November’s general election.
For the general election, Preble County saw 21,588 ballots cast with over 11,000 of those coming through either absentee or early voting, votes which are allowed to be scanned before Election Day.
“We just had plenty of help,” Preble County Board of Elections Director Terri Hans said. “[Our workers] did a fantastic job. Didn’t have any complaints. Everybody was really impressed.”
Most scanning for absentee or early voting had been done before Election Day, and results were allowed to be tabulated at 7:30 p.m., with the first results out of the county coming shortly after 8 p.m.
From there, it took a few hours before updated numbers came out of Preble County, meaning it was a late night for both the workers at the Board of Elections and those waiting on results.
“We start running all the thumb drives coming in from the poll locations and we just had two issues with a couple of them,” Hans said. “We resolved that by running the ballots back through the [DS450] and coming up with the same count. I checked the ballot accounting charts against that, so we were okay that way. So, we had issues, but we had on the job, hands on – we could take care of this problem.”
Despite some of the election night issues, Hans said the entire election cycle went smoothly.
“We always have some glitches, and we’re ready for that, but the process went really smooth this year,” she said. “Even with the volume that we had, I feel that we had a fantastic and adequate supply of workers and they kept the line moving. We had lines due to social distancing, but everybody expected that when they came in here. I mean, I would walk out there in the lobby and think, ‘Oh, my gosh, we have a line,’ so I would start pulling them out of line to bring them into the office to process them too. They’d said, ‘Oh, heck, we were expecting bigger lines.’ Everybody was very patient with us and we got everybody voted and I think everything was very smooth.”
Hans said she could see more people opting for early voting in the future, which had been available at the Preble County Courthouse from Oct. 6 up until Nov. 2.
“A lot of people didn’t realize we did this process [of] early voting,” she said. “Once they did it they said, ‘Oh, this is so much easier and we can come up so many days ahead of time to pick a day and come up.’ They said it was just like voting at the polling location. I could see our early voting numbers rising.”
Among the lessons the Board of Elections learned this year, Hans said to have plenty of staff on hand and to be ready for anything.
“We had some, they were either working the early voting process or they were downstairs opening absentee by mail envelopes and processing them ready to have them scanned,” she said. “We had two different processes going on at the same time, the mail process and the early voting, and just be prepared to do that.”
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles