Butler County renegotiates a lower deal for new voting machine system

Butler County commissioners bought a $7.5 million voting machine system Thursday but the bulk of it is state-paid.

County officials have been concerned about the cost for new voting equipment for a couple years now, but the actual local cash outlay is $1.38 million. The state is picking up $3.2 million for the new iPad-like machines and it will cost the Board of Elections about $2.9 million over 10 years for software and licensing.

RELATED: County commissioners considering $8M voting machine purchase


The BOE recommended an $8.2 million, direct record electronic (DRE) voting machine system to the commissioners in March. The commissioners balked at the high price. After County Administrator Judi Boyko and the BOE went back to their vendor, Dominion, the price dropped almost $700,000.

Commissioner Don Dixon said taking a hard line with the vendor paid off.

“If they want our business they’re going to have to deal with us …,” he said. “They always start out asking retail and then when they get down to counting the real dollars, you can usually get their attention.”

The commissioners not only wanted a price drop, but also wanted guarantees future upgrades — both software and hardware — to be cost-free so they don't get caught off-guard by a vendor rendering its product obsolete after only a few years, as was the case with the recent Motorola radio issue.

The commissioners did not budget for the machines this year because exact costs have fluctuated over time.

About the Author