New electronic poll books for elections are supposed to make voting faster, more accurate and more secure, but Butler County commissioners don’t like the state’s “use it or lose it” policy regarding money to pay for them. County elections officials presented a plan Monday to spend $524,900 on the new technology. The state will pick up the lion’s share, $394,465, for the equipment, but county leaders said the catch is the elections board must be under contract with the vendor by May 31 or the money will vanish. “I don’t like the state saying you have to use it or lose,” Commissioner Don Dixon said. “I think if they are going to allocate that money, then if we have a plan to bundle that with something else, and it may be a year before we’re there, we should be allowed to do that.”
Eventually, the county is going to need new voting machines — elections officials have mentioned it several times during the annual budget hearings with the commissioners. The board has estimated the cost at $4 million.
… The state appropriated $12.7 million in 2015, hoping to entice more counties to purchase e-poll books. Butler County received its current e-polling books — which cost more than $1 million for equipment and services — through a lawsuit settlement with a previous vendor in 2011.