Lake County officials are optimistic a provision of state law that would force the county to purchase 54 additional voting machines this year will be removed as part of the state’s budget bill. A state law enacted in 2006 would require each county starting in 2013 to have one voting machine per 175 registered voters. The county has 152,878 registered voters and 864 electronic voting machines, so 54 additional machines would need to be purchased at a cost ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 — depending on if the equipment was new or used. Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said during a commissioners meeting Tuesday that a repeal of that ratio was included in the version of the state budget bill passed last week by the Ohio Senate.
The measure is now in a conference committee involving Ohio House of Representatives and Ohio Senate members to hammer out differences between what each chamber passed to deliver a final version of the state budget for Gov. John Kasich to sign before July 1.
“Every indication is that should stay in the bill; (Ohio) Secretary of State (Jon) Husted is in favor of that language,” Troy said.
“There are a few voting rights advocates that aren’t pleased with it, but I think with the support of the Secretary of State and (County Commissioners Association of Ohio) and Ohio Association of Election Officials that requirement will be repealed.”