Champaign board of elections certifies ballot

URBANA — The Champaign County Board of Elections voted to certify the ballot for this fall’s elections Thursday morning, which included more than 20 issues that will be decided when voters cast their ballots this fall.

Contested races in Champaign County this fall will include Republican incumbent Steve Hess facing off against Democratic challenger Anthony Ehresmann for a seat as county commissioner. Voters will also decide between Democrat Ronald Tompkins and Republican Kevin Talebi in a race for Champaign County prosecutor. Other county races are uncontested.

At the national level, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, will face Democratic candidate Jim Slone and Libertarian candidate Chris Kalla for 4th District seat in Congress. Ohio Sen. Keith Faber, R-Celina, will attempt to defend his seat in the 12th District against Libertarian candidate Paul Hinds.

Countywide, voters will also face numerous issues, including a 0.5-mill levy to pay for maintaining the county’s 911 emergency services. If approved, the owner of a $100,000 home would pay about $15.36 a year. The levy would generate about $350,000 annually to allow the 911 center to continue to pay for software and hardware upgrades, training for staff members and allow the county to offer services such as tracking 911 calls made from cell phones.

Board members also briefly discussed early voting hours set in place by the Ohio Secretary of State’s office late Wednesday afternoon. All county boards of election statewide will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for three weeks once early voting begins on Oct. 2. They will remain open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays the last two weeks before the election from Oct. 22 to Nov. 2.

Although the hours are longer than typical business hours for the office, they will likely not present a significant problem, said Kathy Meyer, director of the Champaign County Board of Elections.

Although it may mean paying overtime for some staff members, Meyer said it should not be a significant strain on the budget. The only challenge, she said, is that longer hours will mean staff members may have to stay in the office later in the evening to get work done after voting hours end. She said it is not uncommon, however, for staff members to work later than usual in the weeks leading up to an election.

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