Wednesday, June 19, 2019 Medina 70°
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Medina County commissioners need about $1 million for voting machines

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Primary Election is Tuesday

While the county commissioners discuss the cost of new voting machines, voters should not forget there is an election set for next week.

Three levies will be the entire ballot Tuesday. Polls open at 6:30 a.m. and close at 7:30 p.m.

Here are the issues on the ballot:
  • Homer Township has placed a tax levy renewal with a 2-mill increase that will last for five years. The renewal is 2.5 mills, bringing the levy’s total to 4.5 mills. At 2.5 mills, the levy cost residents $87.50 per $100,000 in home valuation per year. With the 2-mill increase, the cost to residents will increase to $157.50 per year. The purpose of the levy is to provide funds for general construction, reconstruction, resurfacing and repair of streets, roads and bridges within the township.
  • Chatham Township will have a five-year levy renewal on the ballot for the purpose of providing as well as maintaining fire equipment and buildings. It will also cover firefighters’ salaries. The 2-mill levy will cost residents $58 per $100,000 of home valuation per year and generate $109,200 a year for the township.
  • Brunswick Schools will a levy renewal on the ballot to replace a five-year levy with a 10-year levy. The funds will be used for general district operations. The 1.9-mill levy costs residents $59.85 per every $100,000 in home valuation and brings in a total of $2,021,000 each year.
Voters can vote now. In-office absentee voting hours are:
  • 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., today and Friday
  • 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday
  • 1-5 p.m., Sunday
  • 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Monday.

MEDINA — The Medina County commissioners need about $1 million for new voting machines for the Medina County Board of Elections and another $258,000 to place radio equipment on the Hinckley water tower, but finding it won’t be as easy as searching some couch cushions.

County Administrator Scott Miller said at the commissioners’ meeting Thursday that options are being explored by the county to pay for the expenses — especially the hefty price tag associated with the voting machines, which was not included in this year’s budget.

The Ohio secretary of the state’s office mandated each county to purchase new machines.

“We had to have them in place by November in order to use them next year (for the presidential election),” Miller said.

The state contributed $1.8 million for the machines, which county officials originally thought would cover the entire cost of the machines.

“Unfortunately, the cost of the voting machines were significantly more,” Miller said. “We will have to contribute $1,031,000.”

The Board of Elections selected the Express Vote universal voting system, manufactured by Election Systems and Software. The 750 Hybrid 2 machines use touch-screen technology with a paper ballot.

Commissioner Colleen Swedyk said she doesn’t know how some of Ohio’s counties can afford new voting machines.

“The cost is extraordinary,” she said.

Miller said the expense wasn’t budgeted for 2019.

“We weren’t expecting to pay a million bucks,” he said.

Board of Elections Director Carol Lawler said they must purchase one machine for every 175 voters.

Swedyk said the state needs to reduce the mandate for the number of machines required at each precinct.

“The whole process is quicker,” she said. “The mandate should be lowered.”

She said more voters are taking advantage of early voting.

Swedyk said she hopes the state doesn’t ask counties to purchase another round of voting machines before Medina County pays off the current lot it’s buying. The county will likely finance the $1 million expense through Huntington National Bank.

Commissioner Pat Geissman said if the county can afford to do so, it should just pay for the radio upgrade outright and not finance it.

Phase 3 of an ongoing project with the Medina County Sheriff’s Office will place radio equipment on the Hinckley water tower, which will improve radio coverage in Brunswick, Brunswick Hills Township and Hinckley Township. It will cost $258,000.

Coverage in some of the affected areas of northern Medina County is poor with the current system.

“Parts of those areas don’t have radio coverage,” Miller said. “The police and fire aren’t able to communicate, and if the SWAT team is called out to any of those places, they aren’t able to communicate using our radio system.”

Cleveland Communications will design and install the upgrades to the P25 radio communications equipment operated by the sheriff.

When the equipment is placed on the water tower, it’s expected to extend the sheriff’s reach and reliability.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.


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