MIAMI COUNTY — The Miami County Board of Elections has delayed a decision on new voting equipment for the county.
During a meeting Thursday, Ryan King told his fellow board members that he is unwilling to vote on any new system until after meeting with the Miami County Commissioners. King will meet with the commissioners next Wednesday during their work session. King also said he wants to hear from the IT Department about each system.
“There’s a minimum of two steps I’m taking before I’m even close to a decision. One is to talk to the commissioners, the second is to talk to IT,” he said.
King said he is not “for or against” any of the three options, but wants the commissioners’ input on the cost of the systems before making a decision. The county is set to be reimbursed up to $1,096,490 by the state and has received four quotes for new equipment ranging in cost from about $507,000 to $1.99 million.
The quotes received were from ES&S and Clear Ballot Group.
The options include a system in which voters mark a paper ballot that is then scanned and recorded, a fully electronic touchscreen system, and a hybrid system in which voters use a touchscreen to mark a ballot, which is then printed on paper.
Chairman Dave Fisher said the board owes it to the taxpayers to make a decision soon.
Board member Audrey Gillespie said the decision needs to be based on the merits of each system, and then the costs should be taken into consideration.
“Once we say, ‘This would be our first choice, this would be our second choice,’ that’s when you go and say, ‘This is where we’d like to go, now we would like you as commissioners to figure out how this would be funded,’” she said. “Right now, we’ve just added four more people to the board.”
At a previous meeting, Fisher said he was in favor of the paper ballot option, calling it the safest way to vote. King pointed out that all results are tabulated electronically regardless of how the ballots are cast.
During Thursday’s meeting, board member Rob Long expressed concerns about the useful life of a hybrid system, saying that buying a system that could be outdated in about 10 years would be a burden to a future board of elections.
The board will again discuss the purchase of new equipment at a future meeting.
Reach Cecilia Fox at firstname.lastname@example.org.