The Miami County Board of Elections will meet with the county commission to discuss the need for new voting equipment as part of the election board’s compliance with an order from the Ohio Secretary of State.
The directive from the state office said the request is part of an effort to determine the estimated cost for each county to obtain new voting equipment and how much might be available to counties “if such funding is available in the future.” Once that is determined, the next step would be how many counties have a serious interest in buying new equipment in coming years, the directive said.
“These machines are old. And, it’s something we really need to look at, going to a new system,” elections board Chairman Dave Fisher said during the board’s meeting May 16.
“I agree we need them,” board member Ryan King said. He asked to remind fellow board members that the board doesn’t run the risk of the election being wrong, but the risk is of lines, inconvenience and frustrated voters.
“It’s good we are beginning this discussion,” King said.
The discussion with commissioners is requested before June 1 and a statement of need requested to the state by June 14. At this time, the type of equipment needed is not part of the required discussion.
The county’s voting machines were purchased in 2005.
“I’ve always said to folks how many of you still have a 12-year-old laptop you are still using. These are computers,” Fisher said. “This document and what secretary of state is trying to do is to at least figure out who needs them and how much is it going to cost.”
Among discussion items, he said, is whether the county would continue with electronic voting machines or go back to an optical scan system.
The board asked elections Director Bev Kendall to arrange a meeting with the commissioners.
In other business May 16, the board was asked by member King to begin talking about providing some form of administrative assistance to Kendall. That discussion would also need to include the commissioners, he said.