Minnesota’s local government officials say searching the eBay online auction site for voting machine parts is not the best way to keep the foundation of democracy running smoothly. The company that made much of Minnesota’s voting equipment, especially for disabled voters, has moved on to newer technologies and parts for machines used in most Minnesota polling places are hard to find. “The best answer to that is eBay,” Administrative Services Director Deborah Erickson of Crow Wing County told a Minnesota House committee Wednesday, March 1, before the panel approved a bill providing counties $14 million next year.
That is half the cost county officials say they need to spend to update equipment. Senators are considering legislation with less financial help.
Goodhue County Finance Director Carolyn Holmsten would like to see the machinery updated locally as well. “Two years ago we estimated to replace everything in the county at that point in time would have cost us about $275,000.”
Holmsten mentioned that election costs can be tricky to budget for. “There’s always the issue, is this a state cost, a federal cost, does it get passed on to cities and townships? Where’s the line?”