Elections board to seek funds to finish the year
By ED RUNYAN
The Trumbull County Board of Elections will ask the county commissioners this week for $74,182 to finish out the year, in part because of a settlement agreement reached in August with the company that supplied the elections board with its current touch-screen voting equipment in 2005.
At its Tuesday meeting, the board approved seeking the extra money to buy a high-speed paper-ballot scanner for $42,400 and $6,000 for software updates associated with the settlement agreement.
Other parts of the funding request include $35,000 in payroll and $14,000 in supplies not related to the agreement.
The totals don’t add up to $74,182 because the elections board also reported some adjusted income.
Kelly Pallante, elections- board director, said some of the money being sought is what the elections board asked commissioners for during the budgeting process earlier this year but were denied.
Trumbull County Auditor Adrian Biviano said later Tuesday that Pallante previously explained the additional money being sought, and he didn’t foresee any problem with the request.
Pallante said the agreement came about because the new voting equipment from Diebold Inc. came with a five-year software and maintenance agreement included in the initial price, which was paid for with federal money.
That agreement expired at the beginning of September.
Forty seven counties using Diebold voting equipment joined with the Ohio Secretary of State to reach an agreement to establish the new agreement, Pallante said.
The purchase of the high-speed scanner was part of the agreement, as well as receipt of 126 additional voting machines at no cost. The new voting machines will be stockpiled to replace existing equipment as needed, Pallante said.
The scanner, which will arrive sometime next year, will speed up tabulation of election results, she said. Among the ballots the scanner will read are those cast by an increasing number of early voters, Pallante said.
The elections board is following the advice of its legal counsel and asking the county commissioners to sign the new agreement with Dominion Voting Systems of Denver, Pallante said. Dominion handles maintenance for Diebold.
Over the next three years and four months, the agreement will cost the county about $238,000, Pallante said.