Antone White, the new director of the Franklin County Board of Elections, says he's ready to evaluate the voting process and enhance voter education after the tumultuous 2020 election.
White takes over the election board after former director Ed Leonard left for a job with new Franklin County Prosecutor Gary Tyack.
Last week, false allegations of widespread voter fraud in the country, led by President Donald Trump, encouraged thousands of angry Trump supporters to violently invade the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.
“We know, and what’s been proven, is that there’s relatively little to no voter fraud in our election process,” White says.
Despite the lack of fraud concerns, Franklin County did experience a number of technical incidents during the 2020 general election. During the early voting period, the county sent nearly 50,000 incorrect absentee ballots to voters – blamed on a scanner malfunction – that required sending postcards and issuing corected ballots to everyone affected.
On Election Day, Franklin County's electronic voter logs went down, requiring poll workers to switch to print books and causing some delays.
White is a former executive assistant at the board, and says while there may be some minor blips in the voting process, the system is overall sound.
“Anytime when you have this heightened level of false information out there that does concern me, but again what we do here in Franklin County will be important to overcoming some of those false perceptions,” says White.
White says he and the board members will evaluate what went right in 2020 and what can improve.
“Really it’s about planning, evaluating and executing, and how we can function in those three areas will determine how well we’re able to administer elections here,” White says.
Expanding public education, White says, is important to improving voter confidence.
“Community outreach and education is one of my big priorities,” White says. “How we communicate, how we educate the public, how we use all our tools at our disposal to ensure that voters have the right information is very critical.”
White says methods like no-fault absentee and early voting are helpful to get more people to participate.
“As long as we remain transparent in how we operate, I don’t think people will have questions about our process here in Ohio or in Franklin County, so I think transparency is key and again how we communicate and how we educate,” White says.