A sensor in a voting machine in Green Twp. stopped working during the primary election this week, which elections officials locally and statewide said is a symptom of Ohio’s aging voting machines that need upgraded soon. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration called the aging voting machines an “impending crisis” in a 2014 report to President Obama. It could cost $150 million to $175 million to buy new voting equipment statewide, a recent state report found, and there’s likely little federal money available now like there was a decade ago. The Ohio Secretary of State’s Office has been developing a plan to upgrade voting equipment statewide by the 2020 election.
“With all technology there is a certain lifespan and it’s no secret that Ohio’s voting machines are starting to age. You wouldn’t keep a laptop for more than a decade, but this is equipment that gets used two times a year, maybe four times a year,” said Joshua Eck, a secretary of state spokesman.
The Clark County Board of Elections quickly replaced the malfunctioning ballot scanner on Tuesday night. Just three voters at the Pitchin Fire Department were affected, board Director Jason Baker said, and their ballots were placed in a locked box and scanned in the main Springfield office.
The board has 115 optical scanner machines and 90 are used on Election Day to count the paper ballots. “The equipment is getting a little aged, but it’s still useful right now,” Jackson said.