Aging voting machines have been a concern for election officials. Secretary of State Job Husted estimates it would cost $200 million to replace all the machines in the state, but the federal money that paid for them about a decade ago is gone. While there does not appear to be a crisis on the horizon, Assistant Public Affairs Editor Michelle Everhart notes that Husted expects isolated problems will occur. So what is the solution? Husted said punch-card ballots are the most cost-effective system for running elections, but those are illegal now. Then there is voting by mail only, which Oregon does, but Husted said, “We in Ohio seem to be wed to an all-of-the-above strategy, and there is a cost to that.”
While the proposition of online voting has been floated, Husted said, “The problem is everyone wants to still vote by mail, they still want machines to vote at their precincts on Election Day, and so you want us to maintain and secure something that is used twice a year? On that scope? It’s a $100 million endeavor. It just doesn’t make any sense from a cost point of view.”
In the end, Husted said more states likely will move back to a paper-based system.
On a separate issue, the secretary of state says he doesn’t think Ohio should allow Election Day registration, even though a voter-turnout study released last week showed states that allow voters to register or update a registration when voting showed higher turnouts.