Warren County has 185 voting machines that scan paper ballots. They use 173 of those machines at polling locations.
Both counties purchased their machines in 2005.
“Taking action now allows the voting machines to be put in place next year so poll workers can be trained and the equipment can be tested well ahead of the 2020 presidential election,” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said.
The Ohio Department of Administrative Services has awarded contracts to five voting system vendors — Clear Ballot Group, Dominion Voting Systems, Election Systems & Software, Hart InterCivic, and Unisyn Voting Solutions. County boards of elections eligible to participate in the program will select their system, equipment, and services from the approved vendor’s list.
“We have worked with all of the approved vendors to evaluate their voting systems to find the solution that will work best for Butler County,” said Eric Corbin, Butler County’s deputy director. “At this time we have not eliminated any vendors. We hope to work quickly to maximize the amount of preparation time before the implementation of a new voting system.”
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Warren County elections Director Brian Sleeth said they’ve interviewed and seen demonstrations from four vendors before the November 2018 election.
“We will be narrowing it down to two at our December board meeting and have those two come back in for another hands-on demonstration,” he said. “Our goal is to have a vendor selected by mid-January and use the new machines at our May special election, if we have one.”
Warren County has received price quotes from vendors between $1.4 million and $2.7 million. Butler County had received quotes in 2017 of between $3 million and $6 million, but Corbin said that is out-dated.
“Since the pricing was just released we do not have a new range yet,” he said. “We need to get new Butler County-specific quotes. That’s what we are working on.”
The funding will be released in phases — beginning with approximately $72 million available to counties who plan to replace their voting systems before the 2019 Primary Election — and is based on voter registration numbers as of July 1, 2017. In addition to the $104.5 million allocation, $10 million in reimbursement funding will be available to counties who have replaced their voting systems since Jan. 1, 2014.
Butler County had just more than 241,000 registered voters at that time and Warren County had around 155,00 registered voters.