The Franklin County Commission plans to spend $245,000 on ads for early voting. The board of elections has done that in the past, but Republican board members argue it’s no longer necessary.
Franklin County’s Early Voting Center has been in the same place since 2014, so Republicans on the Board of Elections say spending almost a quarter of a million dollars promoting it is a waste of money.
In a press release, GOP members Douglass Priesse and Bradley Sinnott criticized the expense, noting it’s almost five times the average annual income of a Franklin County household, and no other county in Ohio purchases similar television ads.
But Commission president Kevin Boyce argues every election sees new voters, as people move or turn 18.
“To say that it’s been there since 2000-whatever, and they should know where it is, is absurd,” Boyce says. “Because that assumes we’ve been stagnant, that we haven’t grown as a community, that new people haven’t come here. And so I think that’s an absurd perspective.
The commission transferred money out of the Board of Elections budget—money the board originally requested for ads. The commissioners intend to purchase air time on their own, but they're still working with the county prosecutor to ensure they have that authority.
"In our minds, the board of commissioners, we have found several places in the Ohio Revised Code that would allow us to use these resources for that purpose,” Boyce says. “Yet we have gotten feedback from the prosecutor’s office that that is not the case, so we are seeking additional legal perspective."
Priesse and Sinnot’s statement says the plan is “no more sensible than the county’s buying television time to announce that Independence Day will again be on the Fourth of July.”