Recounts, inefficient or outdated voting equipment, and efforts to keep up with the changing times have put Cochise County in the market for all-new electoral infrastructure. Staff from the county’s procurement, geographic information system, elections and special districts, and the county attorney’s office, met with the board of supervisors at a work session on Tuesday. … Elections staff saw a demonstration of Yavapai County’s Unisyn Voting Systems Inc. equipment, an ES&S demo in Graham County, and demonstrations of Pinal County’s central count approach. Unisyn also provided a local demo, as did ES&S. In February, the Arizona Secretary of State conducted a joint training session for county elections and recorder’s office staff.
Equipment vendors are in a favorable position as election offices nationwide are currently on the hunt for equipment. In 2000, the Help America Vote Act made grants available for election funds. Many elections departments bought new election equipment, and that equipment and software is now reaching the end of its life span.
“Change is inevitable, the whole approach to voting has changed nationwide. The elections systems are sold now as integrated systems, they work together, so you cannot mix and match,” Howard said. “It means the vendors are getting a lot of money.”
… The budget requested for the ES&S system with the vote center approach is $880,449 (outright purchase), or otherwise $1,129,425 by way of outfitting the 49 existing individual precincts. An additional $30,000 is being requested by staff to stage demonstrations for locals who would like a demo of the proposed system. Other options include lease and lease-purchase acquisition, and staff will present the board with its recommendations for financing options at a special meeting/work session on May 19.