Lake County Elections Board officials are preparing for the day — in the not-too-distant future — when the county will have to purchase new voting machine equipment. The county last purchased 864 iVotronic electronic voting machines from Omaha, Neb.-based Election Systems and Software in December 2005 for a total price of $2,749,194, said Janet F. Clair of the Elections Board. Federal funding paid $2,330,770 of that cost through the federal Help America Vote Act and Lake County paid $418,423 toward the purchase, Clair said. That purchase was required to ensure the county was compliant with a new state requirement at the time that voting equipment provide a voter-verified paper audit trail.
Elections Board members said Tuesday at a meeting they were relieved that the Ohio General Assembly passed a bill last week which would eliminate the need for Lake County to purchase 35 additional voting machines before the end of the year.
However, they acknowledged the machines the county has now won’t last forever and it’s possible the county may eventually have to switch to a more paper-based system.
A system switch is not set in stone, but voting machine vendors currently aren’t making a new generation of electronic voting machines that function just like the ones the county uses now, Elections Board members said.