Just over $1.8 million will come to the Medina County Board of Elections for the purchase of new voting equipment through a program made possible by legislation enacted this year.
However, Pam Miller, chairwoman of the board of elections, said Thursday that may not be enough to cover all of the county’s election needs. The full allocation is $1,809,251.
“That might not cover everything, since they need voting machines, scanners for counting ballots, lot of ancillary stuff that goes with it,” Miller said. “We might need voting booths”
A release from Secretary of State Jon Husted said Wednesday that the Voting Equipment Acquisition Program provides a total of $104.5 million for counties to purchase new equipment.
Husted said counties will be able to get the equipment in time to test it and train poll workers ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
Miller said counties are allocated funding based on the number of registered voters in each county.
The state has awarded contracts to five voting system vendors. County boards of elections using the program will select their system, equipment, and services from the approved vendors list.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Ohio Association of Election Officials said they welcome the opportunity to replace outdated equipment.
Miller said the elections board is trying out several companies to contract for voting machines.
The board had a recent demonstration from the Clear Ballot Group, which is based in Boston. Clear Ballot provides an all-paper system, which allows for digital scan of ballots.
On Dec. 14, the elections board will test Dominion Voting Systems, which provides a direct recording electronic machine. It’s similar to the touch screen system the elections board uses now.
“But it’s more advanced,” Miller said.
A third test on Dec. 18 will be hybrid machine made by Election System & Software, or ES&S.
It’s a touch screen to vote, but a paper ballot comes out of the machine. The ballot is put in a scanner to be counted later.
The county’s current machines are touch screens, but made from old technology.
“Our machines are 14 years old,” Miller said.
“The parts are no longer available. Our people have done a great job of maintaining them and getting parts. They’ve come to the end of their useful lives.”