Clark County preparing to replace voting machines, possible $1M cost

The Clark County Board of Elections wants to create a designated fund to save money to purchase new voting equipment in the future — possibly before the next presidential election in 2020, officials said.

The fund would be designed solely for that purpose, elections board Director Jason Baker said. The upgrades may cost about $1 million.

MORE NEWS: New Carlisle library to expand hours, hire more staff

“This will ensure that 10 to 12 years down the road, we don’t need to say, ‘State give us the money,’” Baker said.

Over the past five years, the board has saved about $350,000 in permanent improvement money to purchase new equipment. However the board of elections doesn’t want to rely on the state to purchase new voting equipment, Baker said.

“At some point in time, the state is going to dry up its money and not be able to purchase for us or reimburse us for voting equipment,” he said.

The equipment is 12 years old, Elections Board Member Lynda Smith said, two years past its recommended life.

MORE NEWS: Clark County schools make changes due to drug crisis, 1 stocks Narcan

“By the time we get to another (presidential election), if we have a dramatic equipment failure, it’s going to be bad,” Baker said.

So the money charged to local governments that put issues on the ballot would go to a separate board of elections fund, he said, rather than the county’s general fund. General fund money can be used for any purpose, Clark County Administrator Jenny Hutchinson said.

“It’s (currently) an earmark,” she said.”If we needed the money, we could use it.”

If a resolution is passed, the county can rescind the resolution at any time and bring the money back into its general fund, Baker said.

The change would make it easier for election officials to see how much money it has available for upgrades, Clark County Commissioner Melanie Flax-Wilt said.

RELATED: Clark County commissioners approve store rezoning despite objections

The Clark County Board of Elections will make the decision on when to purchase new equipment and county commissioners will have the final vote on the purchase, Baker said.

“It’s the county’s money,” he said. “We want to make sure it’s spent correctly and we don’t want to waste anything.”

No discussions have taken place about what kind of equipment to buy, Baker said.

In December, the board of elections will be hosting approved voting machine vendors from across the country, he said.

“We’re going to invited everyone to watch and see what they have,” Baker said.

RELATED: Clark County council votes against merging 2 clerk of courts offices

The fund could also help plan for elections in future generations, he said, especially as technology continues to become more expensive.

“We need to look to prepare for the future, not just trying to get a quick fix now,” Baker said.

The commission and county staff will review the proposal over the next few weeks, Clark County Commissioner Rick Lohnes said.

Clark County has about 90 precincts and about 89,000 registered voters.


1st-of-its-kind center for addicts, families opens in Springfield

Controversial $1.8M Derr Road lane reduction project will move forward

Springfield pool loses money but brings in 340K visits after 10 years

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Crowded governor field puts Democratic race up for grabs
Crowded governor field puts Democratic race up for grabs

Nobody denies the Democratic field of candidates running for Ohio governor is crowded. But the whether that is a good thing for the party — and its fortunes in November — depends on how the five candidates behave, according to political experts and party officials. “I am not sure we can assume that a tight primary will damage a candidate...
Government shutdown: Will I still get my mail?
Government shutdown: Will I still get my mail?

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees could be barred from working if Congress can’t agree to a budget plan and avoid a shutdown. But the country’s more than 500,000 postal service workers won’t be among them.  Mail service will continue uninterrupted, even during a government shutdown.  That’s because the U...
Government shuts down, negotiations expected through weekend
Government shuts down, negotiations expected through weekend

The federal government shut down Saturday for the first time since 2013 late Friday, with a handful of Republicans and the vast majority of Democrats in the Senate opposing efforts to keep the federal government running for another month. By a vote of 50-48, Senate Republicans fell far short of the 60 votes needed to end floor debate and clear the...
Democrat Kucinich picks running mate in Ohio governor’s race
Democrat Kucinich picks running mate in Ohio governor’s race

Former U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich on Friday chose Akron City Councilwoman Tara Samples as his running mate in his bid for Ohio governor. Samples fills out the field of lieutenant governor candidates in the 2018 race to replace Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who is term limited. Kucinich, 71, on Wednesday announced his decision to run in the Democratic primary...
Losers appeal Ohio medical pot licensing decisions
Losers appeal Ohio medical pot licensing decisions

State officials are scrambling to hold more than 60 appeal hearings for companies that did not win medical marijuana cultivator licenses in Ohio. So far, 68 of the 161 rejected applicants have filed for a “119 hearing,” in which a hearing officer listens to the state and the business present their cases on why the licensing decision should...
More Stories