TROY — The Miami County Board of Elections held a vendor day Thursday afternoon at the 9-1-1 Communication Center in Troy, bringing together six different voting machine vendors to show the types of voting machines that are available.
“We’re giving the public the opportunity to see the voting machines,” Bev Kendall, director of the Board of Elections, said. “We’re doing a vote to see what they like. We have other counties here.”
Members of the Board of Elections, along with members of other boards of elections for surrounding counties, attended the vendor day event. The community at-large as well as local poll workers were also invited to see what voting machines are available in the market today.
The Board of Elections’ current electronic voting machines are 12 years old, so Kendall said that the board’s office does “feel the need” to obtain new voting equipment sometime in the future. Kendall added that the board probably will not do anything or make any big purchases until they see what funding is available.
From touch-screen interface systems to paper-based tabulation systems, the range of voting machines available all feature modern aspects, usually with some type of touch-screen technology available.
“We are a paper-based system, so we always have that paper back-up,” Clear Ballot Sales Engineer Keir Holeman said. The tabulation system with Clear Ballot also had an accessible touch-screen option available.
The other vendors at the event included RBM Consulting, Dominion Voting, Hart intercivic, and Elections Systems and Software. Dominion Voting is the Board of Elections’ vendor for their current voting machines, while Elections Systems and Software is the board’s vendor for their current pollbooks.
In May, all of the county boards of elections in Ohio received a directive from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office telling the boards to discuss with their county commissioners their need, if any, for new voting machines. Miami County currently has approximately 400 touch-screen voting machines, and the board’s office uses approximately 360 of the machines each election.
The directive gave all of the county boards the following guidelines when considering new voting equipment:
• Each polling location and absentee voting location must have at least one ADA-accessible voting unit
• Each county should acquire at least one high-speed optical scanner for the processing of absentee ballots, and they also recommend that a county have at least one high-speed optical scanner for each 75,000 registered voters
• If a voting system uses a Direct Recording Electronic (DRE) or touch screen interface as its primary voting unit, each county much acquire at least one unit per 175 registered voters (minus the number of absentee ballots cast and counted in the last presidential election)
• If a voting system is an optical scan-based system, each county must acquire at least one precinct-based optical scanner per precinct
• Each county must have some form of ballot-on-demand capability for use at the board’s office
The Miami County Board of Elections submitted a statement of need in regard to new voting machines to the Miami County Board of Commissioners in June.