LISBON — Poll workers who had to pick up and move their polling location in a hurry due to a bomb threat at Salem High School Tuesday morning received a round of applause when they arrived in Lisbon Tuesday night.
“We have to thank our poll workers. They immediately acted. They did a fantastic job,” Columbiana County Board of Elections Deputy Director Bryce Miner said.
Board of elections staff members congratulated the poll workers as they pulled up to election headquarters to drop off their materials. During the board meeting to accept the unofficial election results Tuesday night, Miner acknowledged the poll workers by name: Ginger Grilli, Patricia Crowl, Suzanne Mehno, Kathy Porter and Genie Wendel.
“We’re very pleased. This is what we do,” Board of Elections Director Kim Fusco said, noting they train on procedures for emergencies on Election Day.
Board of Elections Chairman David Johnson could not recall anything like this happening before and commended the staff, including Miner who responded to the scene, for getting the equipment moved to the church across from the high school on East Sixth Street in Salem so voting could continue. The two precincts at the polling place only lost about half an hour of voting time during the moving process.
“We definitely appreciate the First Christian Church for their hospitality, very thankful for that,” Miner said.
Messages about the change in polling location were posted to the doors near the auditorium at the high school, with signs outside the church indicating where to vote and posts on social media sent out in an attempt to notify voters, including a text sent out to people in the Salem area by the county Emergency Management Agency.
Fusco suggested having a tabletop exercise for poll workers and staff on what to do in a similar situation. Board member Patty Colian asked about moving the voting precincts to the church in the future instead of using the school, which Johnson agreed might be a good idea.
Other than that morning hiccup, Fusco said “everything went smooth.”
They had predicted a small turnout since only 15 precincts were open and that was the result, a turnout of 17.2 percent of the registered voters in those precincts. A total of 2,126 ballots were cast, with 1,930 on Election Day, 106 absentee ballots mailed and 90 in office ballots cast at the board of elections. More absentee ballots may arrive, but must be postmarked with Monday’s date of May 1 and arrive at the office by noon Saturday, May 6. There’s a tentative 10 provisional ballots that will have to be checked also. Provisional ballots are cast by residents who may have moved since registering.
The board will meet at 1:30 p.m. May 10 regarding provisional ballots and at 4:30 p.m. May 19 for the official certification of the special election results, which will include provisional ballots and any outstanding absentee ballots.