A leading voice in Butler County politics is leaving for new job

One of the leading voices in Butler County politics is leaving for a new job in Colorado.

Jocelyn Bucaro, the executive chair of the Butler County Democratic Party, and one of the two executives at the Butler County Board of Elections, said she took the job because she “was ready for a change.” Her last day on the job is May 11, just days after the May 8 primary election.

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“I had been planning for over a year to not run for re-election as party chair because it’s too much with this job, number one,” said Bucaro. “And number two my kids are 14 and 11, and I want to see them before they go off and leave me for adulthood.”

Bucaro has been actively involved with Butler County party politics for a decade and said “that’s a long time. It was time for me to step back and time for somebody else to step up.”

The Butler County Democratic Party will elect a new party chair in early June.

Bucaro decided earlier this year to pursue the job opening with the Denver Elections Division and notified the board Friday she got the job. She said she’s “excited but also sad” to leave the elections office. She said it’s exciting to be heading to a new job “but also sad to leave here because we are a family, and it’s hard to say good-bye to a team that I’ve worked with now for 6½ years.”

“I’m really proud of how hard this group works and their dedication to providing the highest quality of service to voters,” Bucaro said. “I think it’s reflective in the awards we’ve received and the positive feedback we get from voters and poll workers alike after every election.”

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Bucaro said she and some of the staff with the Butler County Board of Elections visited the Denver Elections Division last year when the board was looking at new election equipment, “and I was really impressed with their operation.”

So when the job for Deputy Director of Voter Services opened up, she applied, she said.

“It was a great position, and it enables me to work in a different environment, under different election rules,” she said. “They have certainly sought to make voting as easy as possible for voters, and I’m happy to work in an environment where I can contribute to that.”

Colorado is one of three states (Oregon and Washington are the others) in the country that conducts all of its voting by mail. California will have all-mail voting by 2020, according to the Los Angeles Times.

In the 2016 presidential election, Colorado had the fourth-highest voter turnout in the country. Ohio was 18th in voter turnout in 2016.

The board wished Bucaro well with her new job.

“It’s always an exciting and scary time,” said board member Todd Hall, who is also the executive chair of the Butler County Republican Party. “But with that said, I don’t think you have anything to be scared about.”

Elections board member Mariann Penska and board Chairman Frank Cloud also wished her luck, but Cloud did say he wished there had been more communication with the board leading up to her decision, as well as time before notifying the media and public of her departure. Cloud anticipates a job description to be put out this week.

Bucaro also will be resigning next month her presidents position with the Ohio Association of Elections Officials. She started that one-year term in January.

“We’re obviously super-excited for her and Denver is doing some great things in terms of elections,” said Aaron Ockerman, the OAEO’s executive director. “She’s a great leader in elections and a great leader for our association.”

The leadership positions of the OAEO alternates between Republicans and Democrats, so the Democratic members of the association will determine who will replace Bucaro as president. As far as the timing, Ockerman said that’s not yet been determined.

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