Following weeks of intense negotiations, the Florida Department of State has agreed to release funds obtained under the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) to purchase a new state-of-the art voting tabulation system for a 12-county consortium that includes Franklin County. In an article published in late 2014, Secretary of State Ken Detzner expressed concerns with aging voting equipment being utilized in many Florida counties. His remarks mirrored conclusions found in a non-partisan presidential commission on the voting experience that was released last year. When emerging technology and “mileage” are factored, experts generally estimate the useful shelf life of tabulation hardware and software to be about 10 years. Franklin County is utilizing tabulation equipment that while has proven to be reliable to date, was purchased nearly 15 years ago.
With this information, Assistant Supervisor Heather Riley (serving as representative for the county’s supervisor of elections office) joined a group of 12 small counties that formed a consortium and invited representatives from the state and their existing tabulation vendor (Election Systems and Software) to begin discussions at a meeting in late April in Jackson County.
… During a conference call July 8, the state agreed to release funding from their federal HAVA pool for the purpose of purchasing everything needed for the base platform operation of a new tabulation system for each of the 12 counties. As a result, Franklin County will convert from using M-100 model optical scanners to the new DS-200 models. While voters will experience a similar interface at the polls, the new DS-200 tabulators will provide advancements on many fronts, to include speed, capacity and reliability.