CIRCLEVILLE— The Ohio House of Representatives has introduced a bill that will provide funding for new voting machines across the state, and that could mean new machines for Pickaway County in the future.
Senate Bill 135, has already passed the Ohio Senate and will be discussed in the coming days by members of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Michele Lockard, director of the Pickaway County Board of Elections said the local system was purchased in May 2006.
“The electronics are pretty good,” Lockard said of the current machines. “We have more trouble with the stands and latches than the electronic part of the machine. One of the issues is the machines we have are no longer being made, so replacement parts are hard to find.”
Lockard said the board of elections and the Pickaway County Commissioners have been discussing new voting machines, but they’re waiting to see what the state does before coming to a firm decision.
“We’ve been waiting on the legislature to come up with what kind of plan they’re going to have as far as funding,” she said. “Once they do that we’ll be able to discuss our options and make good decisions once we know more. We’ll get something that will be what’s best for the county’s voters.”
Currently the Pickaway County Board of elections has 181 machines and has an estimate from May 2017 of $1.25 million to replace the whole system.
“Different companies have different types of machines,” Lockard said. “There’s strictly paper, hybrid machines and strictly electronic. We’re looking at all the systems to see what would be best for Pickaway county voters.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says he’s in favor of funding for new machines across Ohio.
“Ohio is a national leader in elections administration because we focus on making our state a place where it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Husted said. “To maintain that status, we must continue to modernize by investing in innovation and that means replacing our voting machines. [The] overwhelming bipartisan vote in the Ohio Senate moves us closer to that goal.”