St. Charles County voters will cast ballots in new voting machines when they go to the polls in April 2014. The County Council voted 6-1 Monday night to spend $1 million for 130 optical scan and 130 disability-capable voting machines from Unisyn Voting Solutions Inc. County Elections Director Rich Chrismer said he expects the new machines to be delivered by June and that they should last eight to 10 years. “I’m happy for the voters because I didn’t trust the machines we had,” Chrismer said Wednesday. Chrismer has been trying to convince the council for the past year that the machines used during the last seven years are at the end of their life cycle and need to be replaced to avoid trouble at the polls. The council voted 4-1 in February 2012 to buy new machines for $1.2 million, but County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed that bill because only one bid had been received, and the council later withdrew the bill.
Councilman Joe Cronin, R-District 1, cast the dissenting vote Monday, saying it would cost just $12,000 to maintain the current machines for the next year and that the county doesn’t need to spend $1 million on new ones now. “The difference between the current machines and the new machines is the way the ballot is read,” Cronin said. “I’m not certain we need that for $1 million.”
… Council Chairman Terry Hollander, R-District 5, said the questions the council had about buying new machines last year had been answered and that if the county waited another couple of years, it would lose the grants available to help pay for them. Chrismer has said the county will receive a $129,000 federal grant through the Help America Vote Act of 2012 and a $50,000 voting systems grant from the state.
Full Article: St. Charles County Council approves new voting machines : Sj.