For the second time, St. Charles County send out bids for 260 optical scan voting machines. The council lacked the five votes necessary during its Monday meeting to override County Executive Steve Ehlmann’s veto on buying 260 voting machines for $1.2 million. So, the council opted to re-bid the items. Council members Terry Hollander, Ward 5, and Paul Wynn, Ward 4, were absent. Election Authority Director Rich Chrismer said the bid results will be the same. “We will get only one bid,” he said. “There are no other companies. Is that a shame that only one company can bid in the state of Missouri? Sure it is.” Chrismer said only one company is certified under 2005 standards by both federal and state government to supply the voting machines, and that’s Henry Adkins & Son. “You could not buy new voting equipment unless it’s certified according to the 2005 standards (according to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission),” Chrismer said.
Ehlmann said he vetoed spending $1.2 million on new voting machines because of the rising cost of elections ever since the federal government began regulating the process. He said federal regulations created an environment one company has a monopoly on election machines.
There was some confusion Monday regarding whether the county could purchase voting machines if the bid specifications are written to accept machines certified under 2002 standards. Chrismer wrote bid specifications to meet 2005 certification standards.