Cuyahoga County Board Of Elections Searching For New Director

Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald talks with reporters on election night in 2016.
Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Pat McDonald talks with reporters on election night in 2016. [Nick Castele / ideastream]
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The Cuyahoga County Board of Elections will soon be looking for a new director.

Director Pat McDonald is stepping down after six years in charge of the organization. Gov. Mike DeWine named McDonald director of the Ohio Lottery Commission, where he has served for years as chairman.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, McDonald said, the board will accept his resignation. He’ll start at the lottery commission Feb. 23. He said the board will post an opening for his job and may make a hire in several weeks.

“I know there will be interesting internal candidates,” McDonald said, “as well as people in the community have an expressed an interest.”

McDonald said the next elections director will face a big job right away: buying new voting machines.

“As you might know, the state has allocated $10.1 million to Cuyahoga County to buy new equipment,” he said. “So we’re in the midst of going through the certified vendors at this time, and we’ve narrowed it down to three of them.”

Unlike some other counties, Cuyahoga won’t be hurrying to install the new machines in time for the 2020 presidential election, McDonald said. Cuyahoga County updated its voting machines about 10 years ago, he said, while many other counties are using equipment from 2005 and 2006, according to the Dayton Daily News.

The board hired McDonald as deputy director in 2007. He took over as director in 2013, replacing Jane Platten. He led the county to implement new electronic poll books.

McDonald is a Republican in a Democratic stronghold. There are rules for partisan balance at the board. If the new director is a Democrat, the deputy director will be a Republican, and the board chair will be from the GOP as well.

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