Ohio counties could soon get some money from the state to help replace aging voting equipment. About $114.5 million would be allocated to Ohio’s 88 counties to buy new voting machines under a proposal unveiled Thursday by Sen. Frank LaRose. Most voting machines here were purchased in 2005 and 2006 with money from the federal Help America Vote Act. In recent years, county officials have said they’re unable to find parts, and some have resorted to makeshift repairs using unconventional materials or parts from dead machines.
Elections officials and lawmakers agreed last year that new equipment is needed before the 2020 election, but they haven’t been able to agree on how to pay for the upgrades. Secretary of State Jon Husted, the state’s chief elections official and a candidate for lieutenant governor, estimated new voting equipment would cost at least $118 million.
Counties that have already bought new machines would receive a portion of a $10 million pot of money to cover those costs under Senate Bill 135, LaRose said at a news conference.
LaRose, a Hudson Republican, is running for secretary of state in the November election. Democratic Rep. Kathleen Clyde, LaRose’s likely November opponent, said money for the upgrades should come from the state capital budget bill that typically passes with broad bipartisan support.