Franklin County’s GOP chairman has been tasked with maintaining the electoral system update

The Franklin County Republican Party chairman was hired part-time to help the Franklin County’s electoral authority transition to a new voter registration system.

Josh Jaffe, chairman of the county GOP executive committee, took up his new position this week and worked up to 30 hours at $ 30 an hour, said David Payne, deputy director of the electoral committee.

Jaffe, 32, will oversee the transition from the Integrity voter registration system to the Tenex system, Payne said.

“Before we make a full switch, we will be doing them in parallel and running mock elections to make sure the new Tenex system works,” he said.

Payne said the goal is to get the new system up and running in time for a possible special election in August, if necessary, but certainly by the November election.

Payne, who was also once the political director of the Ohio Republican Party and a former Columbus City Council candidate, said he reached out to Jaffe because “he’s a guy who can do it.”

“He will be working with the IT professionals here,” he said.

Since Jaffe is a part-time worker, the four-person board of directors overseeing the county’s electoral board – two Democrats and two Republicans – did not have to approve the hiring, Payne said.

The two Democrats on the electoral board, Mike Sexton and Kim Marinello, said they had no concerns about Jaffe’s attitude.

“The way I see it, he’s a part-time worker who supports our IT department,” said Sexton, chairman of the Franklin County Democratic Party. “We have Democrats and Republicans in every department. We are working across parties to implement this system.”

“People are watching both parties,” said Marinello.

Catherine Turcer, executive director of the Common Cause Ohio nonprofit, said she wasn’t surprised Democrats weren’t concerned.

“This is the way the system is set up at this point, as long as they are very transparent about who they choose at this point,” Turcer said.

“Our system is significantly better than a political party making a decision for a county,” she said.

Jasmine Ayres, a local progressive Democrat and former Columbus City Council candidate, said she understood the bipartisan nature of the electoral committee.

“I think my first thoughts are, did this person help the (Ohio) Secretary of State cleanse the voters?” Ayres said.

In January Ohio completed a purge of 97,795 voters, the first since the 2020 election. State law allows voters who fail to vote or respond to notifications to update their registration for six consecutive years to be removed from the list .

Jaffe said the local election board should follow instructions from the Ohio Secretary of State. Frank LaRose, the secretary of state, is a Republican.

“It’s important to keep the electoral roll clean,” said Jaffe. “My general opinion as a low-level employee does not respond to this.”

Jaffe said the transition from one voter registration system to another at the county board is quite complicated, and one of his jobs is to make sure the switch meets its deadline.

“Democrats and Republicans work together on whatever the board needs to do,” he said. “I’m a Republican and I’ve worked with a lot of people on the board for years.”

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@ MarkFerenchik

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