Highland County election board pursuing new voting equipment


Witham: Current machines in use since 2005 general election

By David Wright - dwright@civitasmedia.com



Steve Witham of the Highland County Board of Elections, right, speaks to the Highland County Board of Commissioners Wednesday morning. Visible is commissioner Terry Britton and clerk Rhonda Smalley.


David Wright | The Times-Gazette

Representatives from the Highland County Board of Elections informed the Highland County Board of Commissioners Wednesday that it may require new voting machines to be used in the 2018 General Election.

Steve Witham, Kay Ayres, Debbie Craycraft and Dinah Phillips of the BOE attended a commissioners meeting Wednesday, informing the commissioners that the board will likely require new voting equipment in the next two years.

Witham, who serves as elections administrator, said the last time the county purchased voting equipment was before the general election in 2005, and the machines have already been in use longer than their expected lifespan.

The current equipment hasn’t had any major issues, Witham said, but there have been “nuisances” and calibration issues in recent months.

Witham said the machines are “getting jostled around” every time BOE staff load them into trucks to be taken to polling locations, and again when poll workers transport them back to the BOE.

According to Witham, the state will share the cost of the voting equipment with the county, but price share amount has yet to be determined, according to county commission president Shane Wilkin.

Witham said the state will hopefully foot 80 percent of the bill while the county pays for 20 percent, although Wilkin said he has heard several different variations, including a suggestion of a 50/50 price share.

“It’s going to be a fight, based on the meetings I’ve been to,” Wilkin said, referencing negotiations between the Ohio Association of County Commissioners and the state on voting equipment price share amounts.

Witham said new voting equipment will cost between $500,000 and $850,000, depending on the type of machine the BOE selects.

The commissioners gave Witham permission to send a “statement of need” to the state in the amount of $1 million.

Also Wednesday, the commissioners tabled discussion on a possible dog warden fee increase, as well as discussion of changing the county’s dental insurance.

Wilkin announced the county recently received the 2017 Special Award for Safety from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation.

The commissioners also conducted a bid opening hearing for a reinforced concrete pipe box and passed routine financial resolutions.

Next week’s meeting, originally scheduled for Wednesday, June 7, will instead be held Friday, June 9.

Reach David Wright at 937-402-2570, or on Twitter @DavidWrighter.

Steve Witham of the Highland County Board of Elections, right, speaks to the Highland County Board of Commissioners Wednesday morning. Visible is commissioner Terry Britton and clerk Rhonda Smalley.
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/05/web1_stevewitham.jpgSteve Witham of the Highland County Board of Elections, right, speaks to the Highland County Board of Commissioners Wednesday morning. Visible is commissioner Terry Britton and clerk Rhonda Smalley. David Wright | The Times-Gazette
Witham: Current machines in use since 2005 general election

By David Wright

dwright@civitasmedia.com