Husted has the final word

It’s going to be interesting to see what Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, does about a Republican-backed plan to eliminate more than one-quarter of voting precincts in Trumbull County.

He’s got the tie-breaking vote.

Republican board member Ron Knight’s proposal would reduce the number of precincts in the county from 210 to 152, although the number of precincts now sits at 208 because the board, the same day it addressed Knight’s plan, eliminated two precincts in Niles.

Regardless, about 27 percent of the precincts would be eliminated.

Knight argues the reduction would save at least $60,000 a year and make precincts more equal in size. Seven precincts have more than 1,000 active voters and more than 25 have fewer than 400, Knight said. He also said he believes it would improve elections.

Democrats disagree 100 percent.

Democrat board chairman Mark Alberini last week was the most passionate against the measure, calling it a ”recipe for disaster.”

He said he can ”understand and appreciate” the need to even out the ”hills and valleys” of precinct population, but too many people per precinct would lead to longer voting lines and increased risk of mistakes at the polls.

”The risk isn’t worth the potential benefits” the plan would accomplish, Alberini said.

Alberini also said the loss would almost fully impact the Democrat Party, and he’s right.

Democrats have all but six precinct committeeperson positions filled. Republicans have 86 vacancies, but at least three of those should be filled on Monday.

Knight used the number of ”active voters” for his calculations, a number he said is better because it’s rare that inactive voters suddenly show up to vote on Election Day.

The average precinct in Trumbull County has 719 registered voters. Ohio law allows 1,400 per precinct.

The sides have 14 days from Jan. 7 to prepare and provide their arguments to Husted. A spokesman for Husted said the secretary doesn’t have time constraints to respond, but the office always tries to be as responsive as it can be.

A woman from Youngstown is among four native Ohioans who began a spring internship with Republican U.S. Sen. Rob Portman.

Brittany Armour, 23, a graduate of Liberty High School, began her internship with the senator on Monday, according to Portman’s office. The internship runs through May 10.

Armour graduated in December with an accounting and finance degree from Xavier University in Cincinnati, where she made the Dean’s List all four years, and was on the Peer Review Board and participated in the Student Leadership Summit.

Internships are designed primarily for students with at least one full year of college under their belt. They are assigned to work with staff responsible for the senator’s legislative, press and administrative operations.

Applications are now being taken for summer internships.