The Anoka County Board has awarded a contract for new election equipment that will be in place in time for the 2013 election Nov. 5. The new equipment plus election services from Election Systems & Software will cost up to $1,530,251.30 and replace the existing equipment, which is obsolete. A 10-year joint powers agreement was approved last year by the county, school districts and cities in the county that spells out a cost-sharing formula to pay for the new equipment, its maintenance and operations. According to Cindy Reichert, Anoka County elections manager, the software associated with the new equipment will begin arriving the week of June 24. But delivery of the 140 ballot counters that the county is purchasing under the contract won’t be delivered until August, Reichert said.
That’s enough for all the precincts in the county to have one ballot counter, plus 10 percent that will be available for back-up on election day if there is a failure of a precinct ballot counter, she said.
The system also comes with a central ballot counter, which will be able to count all the absentee ballots – there were 14,000 absentee ballots in 2012 – instead of having several machines doing the count as was the case in the past, according to Reichert. The new ballot counters will also have a digital screen rather than an optical screen, Reichert said.
… In addition to the software and equipment, the contract with Election Systems & Software also includes an agreement for it to provide maintenance services on the ballot counters and ballot markers. “We do not have the capacity to perform our own system component maintenance,” Reichert said.
Under the terms of the contract, the county will use an Election Systems & Software certified printer to print the ballots, instead of going through a formal bidding process as it has in the past, and the vendor will provide the ballots at a fixed price. In addition, Election Systems & Software will train county elections staff in equipment operations and software programming and will be involved in some of the training sessions for election judges.