MIAMI COUNTY — Chairman of the Miami County Democratic Party Dave Fisher is expected to take the seat of Kelly Gillis, former chairman of the Miami County Board of Elections.
Gillis announced his resignation from the board in August, staying on through the Nov. 8 election, with his last day being Dec. 31, 2016.
Fisher is currently awaiting approval from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office. As the director of the board’s office is a Republican, the chairman of the board must be a Democrat.
“I’ve worked for the Board of Elections for quite a few years as a rover, so I’ve always been active with the board,” Fisher said. He added that he has also been against the board in the past, citing the local election in 2001, when there was a ballot shortage.
“I’ve played all sides of it, really, but I’m a firm believer if you think something needs to be fixed, get involved,” Fisher said.
As for initiatives, Fisher wants to continue the board’s progress with technology and help bring about a new voting system.
“I want to see a new voting system in Miami County,” Fisher said. “I think this board was starting that direction. I think we need to finish that and finish that pretty quick. In 2001, we had optical scan and that was some of the problem. They didn’t print enough ballots. A lot of people were disenfranchised. We went to the machines.”
Fisher said that when the voting machines were brought in, he began working for the board as a rover.
“There was a lot of discussion with the machines. Printers were added, so I was kind of on the ground floor when the machines came in. So as a rover, I also make sure the machines are up and running and take care of various precincts, and I’ve done that for a lot of years for the Board of Elections,” Fisher said.
Now, Fisher sees it is time for those voting machines to get replaced.
“These machines are worn out. They’re tired. They’re old,” Fisher said. “This board and previous board members, they’ve been working towards it and with the technology, and some of the things are starting to happen. This is a good time for us to proceed forward and get a new voting system in the county. They started this with the poll books, getting a good response out of the poll books … Let’s kick the field goal and get the rest of the systems in place. Touchscreen’s done their job.”
Fisher also commended previous board members, both Republican and Democrat, for their work on the board.
“We’ve had a lot of good board members on both sides of the aisle,” Fisher said. “We’ve had some folks that spent a lot of time and energy in the position all wanting to make sure everybody gets an opportunity to vote.”
Fisher, of Bethel Township, works as a technical support advisor and teacher.
During the board’s meeting Thursday afternoon, the board approved a 2 percent raise for the office employees with the exception of the director and deputy director, who each received raises last year, so they would not qualify for compulsory overtime. Besides the director and deputy director, there are two full-time employees and four seasonal employees.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336