DARKE COUNTY — On Monday, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that county boards of elections may begin moving forward with the purchase of e-pollbooks.
The Ohio General Assembly appropriated $12.7 million to aid county governments in covering the cost of upgrading to e-pollbooks during the biennial budget (Am. Sub. H.B. 64) approved on June 30.
“E-pollbooks help voters more efficiently find their correct voting precinct which leads to less confusion and shorter wait times. We know that e-pollbooks create a better voting experience for voters and poll workers,” Husted said.
The state funding is intended to cover up to 85 percent of each county’s purchase cost with funds being distributed based on the number of voters in each county.
“The Ohio Department of Administrative Services (DAS) appreciated the opportunity to work collaboratively with the Secretary of State, the Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO), and the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) on this project. We look forward to continuing this partnership as we take the next steps in implementing these budget provisions,” said DAS Assistant Director Randall Howard.
CCAO Executive Director Suzanne Dulaney said, “The costs associated with the administration of elections weigh heavily on the minds of county commissioners. CCAO greatly appreciates the General Assembly, Secretary of State Jon Husted, and the Ohio Association of Election Officials for their leadership and support to provide state funding for electronic pollbooks. Electronic pollbooks have the ability to increase efficiency to counties when administering elections.”
The 21 Ohio counties who already implemented electronic pollbook technology are also eligible to take part in the state grant to recoup part of the costs associated with the upgrade.
“Boards of Elections around the state are excited to begin acquiring and deploying electronic pollbooks,” said OAEO Executive Director Aaron Ockerman “This proven technology holds the promise of a better voting experience for our voters and greater efficiencies for local boards of elections. OAEO would like to thank the members of both political parties in the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives for making this acquisition possible, as well as Secretary Husted for his leadership on this issue.”
Though there is not a required timeline for procuring the new technology, Secretary Husted encouraged counties to move forward in a timely fashion as the e-pollbooks represent a significant advancement in voting technology.