Kelly Gillis of Tipp City was elected the new chairman of the Miami County Board of Elections during the board’s organizational meeting March 4.
The board also discussed several changes in polling places for the May election. In Tipp City, voting precincts have been redone to comply with state law limiting each precinct to 1,400 electors.
All Tipp City voters in coming weeks will receive a notice in the mail from the elections office outlining their polling location, elections Director Drew Higgins said.
Gillis, a Democrat, assumes the chairman’s role previously held for several years by fellow Democrat Roger Luring of Troy. Luring retired from the board at the end of February.
County Democrats earlier this year chose Dean Tamplin of Tipp City to fill Luring’s board seat. The four-member elections board also includes Republicans Robert Huffman Jr. and Jose Lopez.
Tamplin is a former senior audit manager for the State of Ohio Office of the Auditor. He served as interim deputy elections director from December 2011 through March 2012 then worked in the elections office as a seasonal employee. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Wright State University.
As part of the reorganization, the board rehired Higgins as director and Eric Morgan as deputy director. Higgins is a Republican while Morgan is a Democrat.
Also during the meeting Higgins told the board that “quite a few” polling locations would change before the May election.
In addition to keeping the number of voters in each precinct within the allowed number, the changes are being driven by the board’s goal to have voting locations compliant with Americans With Disabilities Act requirements and to move voting out of schools wherever possible.
Changes in Tipp City and Spring Creek Township near Piqua were based initially by the need to reduce voter numbers in precincts. In other areas, changes were based primarily on the other goals.
For example, in Troy, a new voting location for four precincts will be the ITW-Hobart Food Equipment Group building on South Ridge Avenue. Those who vote in parts of the 3rd (3 A,C and D) and 4th Wards (4C) will be voting at the former Hobart World Headquarters building. Among voting locations that no longer will be used are Van Cleve School and First Place.
Tipp City residents now will vote either at the Victory Church on South County Road 25A (across from the Abbott plant), Evan’s Title Agency on North Hyatt Street or St. John the Baptist Catholic Church.
Changes also are on the way in some parts of Piqua, with four precincts scheduled to vote at the Miami Valley Centre Mall.
Additional poll workers are being hired to greet voters at locations with multiple precincts to help guide them to the proper voting table.
Higgins estimated 15,000 voters across the county, including all in Tipp City, would receive notifications of new polling locations.
Huffman asked if the elections office would be “giving people some reason why we are shuffling the deck on them.”
Higgins said an explanation would be included.
The board also agreed to meet weekly, if needed, before the May 6 primary to help ensure a smooth Election Day.