Voting equipment in many Ohio counties, including Butler County, is becoming obsolete as replacement parts are more difficult to obtain and software continues to age. State Sen. Frank LaRose, R-Hudson, said he knows of at least one county board of elections that has used parts from an auto supply store. He said replacing voting machines before the 2020 presidential election is vital to ensure votes are recorded and counted correctly. “It’s just time to replace them,” he said. “This is the kind of thing that has to be done right.” LaRose, who is running for Ohio Secretary of State, said there is “widespread agreement that we need to replace voting machines” among those within the legislature. He introduced Senate Bill 135 last April, which has had one hearing in the Senate Finance Committee.
“It is time for the state’s leaders to step forward and approve a funding plan to replace Ohio’s aging voting technology,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted wrote in a Dec. 14, 2017 letter to Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
“Any plan must ensure that updated voting systems are implemented in time for the 2019 general election so that elections officials and voters alike are not using new voting equipment for the first time in the 2020 presidential election cycle.”
LaRose will amend his bill to include paying for new voting equipment for every county board of election, including training and maintenance contract costs. He said the bill would require the state to pay 100 percent for a “lowest cost option” — which is yet to be determined — and any costs above that cost would be covered by the county. County governments that have purchased new equipment would be reimbursed, LaRose said.