Wake County commissioners want a better deal than the one offered by the company that has the voting-machine franchise in every North Carolina county. Election Systems & Software, represented in North Carolina by New Bern-based Printelect, became the state’s sole supplier in 2006. Cherie Poucher, director of the Wake County Board of Elections, told Wake County commissioners Monday that the company spent about 80 hours cleaning and maintaining the county’s election machines for a $200,000 fee last year. The issue was before the commission because ES&S has been pushing a maintenance agreement to Wake County’s elections board and others across the state.
State funds of about $600,000, which brought millions in federal aid for elections, have been frozen by the state legislature, so Wake is trying to cut its own deal with Printelect. The company asked Wake to pay $170,000 a year in a five-year contract, or $213,000 for a single year, Poucher said.
Instead, county attorney Scott Warren is preparing a proposal under which Wake would pay to have two of its technicians trained to the company’s standards, continue to pay $17,000 a year in software fees and shell out $38 per voting machine, for a total between $50,000 and $70,000 annually, officials said.