Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner announced the schedule for a series of town hall meetings across the state to communicate directly with Ohio voters about the status of Ohio's election systems.
On Dec. 14, 2007, Brunner released the findings of Project EVEREST (Evaluation and Validation of Election Related Equipment, Standards and Testing), and in the weeks that followed, the issue has stirred dialogue and debate from a variety of constituent groups. Specifically, vulnerabilities that were discovered with Ohio's voting systems, including touch-screen voting machines, resulted in the Ohio Secretary of State's Office recommending the state move to optical-scan paper ballots for the November election.
"Ohio voters have a vested interest in how we conduct our elections - elections belong to the people," Brunner said. "I want to hear what people think about voting in Ohio our system, talk with them about what we discovered by conducting this study and hear from them their thoughts on changes being considered to our voting system."
Town Hall Meeting Schedule (All meetings begin at 7:00 p.m.)
"Most voters seem to be asking why the controversy over a change to paper ballots that will provide for greater accountability and confidence that their vote will be counted," Brunner said.
A public hearing was held in Columbus on Jan. 22, 2008 to provide an opportunity for the public and other interested parties to be heard.
"I am committed to continuing the dialogue about these issues, always keeping in mind that we have to do what is best for Ohio voters, whose confidence is best protected by measures that ensure a fair and accurate system of elections in Ohio," said Brunner.
A second round of public meetings addressing the research aspects of the study have also been scheduled on five university campuses. In the end, the secretary of state's office will have offered 10 opportunities for the public to be heard and learn about the issues concerning the state's voting systems. Citizens may also contact the secretary of state's office to voice their opinions and concerns at 1-800-SOS-OHIO or by e-mail at email@example.com.