Cuyahoga County Board of Elections Director Jane Platten, who helped bring credibility and efficiency to the once-broken office, announced Tuesday she is taking a job as chief of staff for Cuyahoga County Prosecutor Timothy J. McGinty. Platten’s resignation comes two weeks after a largely trouble-free general election in Cuyahoga County — an occurrence much less common under previous elections directors. “When I told people that I had accepted the job as Board of Elections director, many of the reactions I received were, ‘Are you crazy?’ or they laughed,” Platten recalled in an interview Tuesday. “People’s perception of the Board of Elections was that it was an agency of extreme turmoil and it was broken, and we turned it around.”
The four-member Elections Board, which has been pleased with her work over the past five years, now must find a replacement to head one of the country’s most closely watched elections boards.
Platten’s resignation is effective Dec. 14. She starts in McGinty’s office on Dec. 17. Election Board Chairman Jeff Hastings said the board will discuss finding a new director. He said Deputy Director Pat McDonald, a Republican who was hired about the same time as Platten in 2007, has expressed interest.
“As a board, and under her and Pat’s leadership, we’ve made leaps and bounds,” said Hastings, a Republican. “I think we’ve been one of the premier boards in the country in terms of conducting elections, in large measure because of her leadership.”