Voting machines good until at least ‘17

Dustin Ensinger

January 10, 2014

Delaware County will be able to avoid a costly overhaul of its voting equipment – at least for now.

The county will likely not have to replace its voting machines with a new generation of equipment until 2017 at the earliest, Delaware County Board of Elections Director Karla Herron told the Delaware County commissioners this week.

“We do not believe we will be looking at new equipment until at least after the presidential election,” she said.

However, the county could be required to completely revamp its voting system with a new generation of equipment in the future, Herron said.

Herron said the county ran a trial in November using electronic poll books, but have decided against purchasing any of the machines, largely because of the uncertainty surrounding the next generation of voting equipment.

“I believe we did our due diligence,” she said. “We did a test pilot in November. We decided it was not the right thing for Delaware County at this time.”

Late last year, the county was spared the expense of purchasing additional voting machines to meet a state-mandated ratio of one voting machine for every 175 registered voters in the county. However, a change in state law allows counties to subtract absentee ballots cast in the previous presidential election from the count of registered voters.

The Delaware County commissioners had budgeted $400,000 for the purchase of additional voting machines, which will be returned to the county’s general fund.

The board of elections will also be adding another $459,000 to the county’s coffers from revenue generated through special elections, the cost of which is incurred by the entities on the ballot.

Commissioner Ken O’Brien asked that the board of elections provide each of the entities in the county with taxing authority information on the cost of special elections in order to encourage them to go to the ballot in general or primary elections to hold down the cost to the taxpayers.

“In a perfect world, everyone would look at their levies and run the year prior in a primary or a general and it would cost the taxpayers less all across the board,” Herron said.