The Stark County Board of Elections will rent all the touch-screen voting machines it deploys for the May 7 primary. The county-owned machines will sit out this election, because all of them either got wet or were exposed to moisture.
The Stark County Board of Elections will rent the touch-screen voting machines it deploys for the May 7 primary.
The county-owned machines will sit out this election, because all either got wet or were exposed to moisture when a portion of a warehouse roof collapsed during a rainstorm on Wednesday evening.
Originally, elections officials planned to deploy 1,262 machines to the county’s 284 precincts. Turnout for similar primaries usually is low; two years ago in Stark, it was less than 24 percent of registered voters.
So, they’ll seek approval from Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to rent fewer — probably about 1,000. Dominion Voting will supply all the machines for $250 per unit, for an estimated total cost of $250,000.
All county-owned machines have been moved to the Cohen-Joliet building on Regent Avenue NE to dry out. The vacant former Developmental Disabilities building may eventually become the permanent home of the Board of Elections, because it provides more parking and a layout that’s better-suited to handle early voters.
“We had to make a decision (on the rentals),” said Board Director Jeff Matthews. “How long do we wait for everything to dry out? We can’t afford to wait two weeks to see if that’s going to happen.”
Typically, at this time of year elections workers would begin charging batteries in the touch-screen machines to prepare for the election.
Matthews said voters won’t notice a difference at polling locations. The rented units will be AccuVote-TSX machines, the same as those the county owns. The machines were produced by Diebold.
Working with insurance adjusters, the county-owned units will eventually be assessed. As part of the rental agreement with Dominion, the elections board can get a 90 percent credit on the rental fees, if it buys the units within the next year.
Matthews said it’s possible that primary election night will be conducted from the Cohen-Joliet site, rather than the Board office on Third Street NE. However, no final decision has been made yet.
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