MERCER — An election official with nationwide experience will take over the operation of voting in Mercer County.
County commissioners announced Thursday the hiring of Thad Hall as director or elections and voter registration, effective Aug. 31.
“This person literally wrote a book on our challenges,” said county Comissioner Matt McConnell.
Hall has been working for 20 years as an elections administrator and consultant, beginning in 2000, when he was on the staff for the National Commission on Federal Election Reform, led by former presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford. The commission’s recommendations were incorporated in the federal Help America Vote Act legislation. He also worked with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Federal Voting Assistance Program and the states of New Mexico and Utah.
Hall previously worked as election director in Coconino County, Ariz., and Richland County S.C.
“We had several great candidates but Thad was clearly the right choice due to his years of experience,” said county Commissioner Tim McGonigle.
Hall replaces former Director Jeff Greenburg, a former reporter for The Herald who had been running Mercer County election operations since 2006. Greenburg stepped down last month to take a position with the National Vote At Home Institute, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that assists local and state governments implement mail-in voting.
The new director will face immediate challenges.
Hall joins the department ahead of a presidential vote, which traditionally has greater voter turnout than any other election. Additionally, he will oversee the county’s second-ever election to have mail-in ballots, which could delay release of results for days after the polls close.
“I am very excited to be returning to the East and working with such a great organization,” Hall said in a press release. “The previous director has the county well-positioned for success in November and we will meet the challenges the new elections environment presents in a thoughtful and transparent manner.”
In the June 2 primary, about 40 percent of Mercer County’s votes were placed by mail-in ballots, which weren’t counted until June 4, two days after the election.
County Commissioner Scott Boyd credited Greenburg’s work as director while praising Hall’s qualifications.
“I am very pleased to have someone this qualified to carry on the excellence at our election office,” said county Commissioner Scott Boyd.