Kanawha County Commissioners opted not to go with a statewide contract for maintenance of electronic voting machines and instead struck their own agreement with Electronic Systems & Software.
Commissioners discussed at Thursday’s meeting whether to get in on the statewide contract, which was negotiated between ES&S and Secretary of State Natalie Tennant’s office. Chief Deputy County Clerk David Dodd said that although he hasn’t yet read the entire contract, he believes it would be cheaper to sign an individual contract with the company.
The county will pay ES&S $56,269 a year for four years to maintain the 374 electronic voting machines and two tabulators. Dodd said the county saved $800 for maintenance on just one tabulation machine by going with the individual contract instead of the statewide agreement. “Going with the state contract would have definitely cost us more money,” Dodd said.
The county will pay the bill quarterly, Commission President Kent Carper said. Carper pointed out that the county clerk’s office does not have this money in its election budget because they were not aware that the maintenance agreement with ES&S, which was signed by the state in 2005, would expire on Sept. 30.
But Secretary Tennant has stated in past interviews that notifications were sent to all of the counties explaining when the contracts would expire and that counties would have to pick up the bill. Carper and Dodd claim they never saw any notifications from Tennant’s office.
Although the money is not in the county clerk’s line item, the commission will provide funding, Carper said. The county recently received $350,000 from magistrate court.
The county will set aside $100,000 to pay for the contract, Carper said.
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