Election deal done

A maintenance agreement on ballot counting equipment should continue to ensure voter confidence, the Auglaize County Elections Board director says.
The hardware maintenance services and software maintenance contact and support agreement with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) recently was approved by the Auglaize County commissioners at an annual cost of more than $15,700. The five-year contract automatically renews and extends through April 30, 2016.
The county uses ES&S’s voter tabulation equipment and licensed software.
Auglaize County Election Board Director Carolyn Campbell said the voting equipment, specifically ballot counting machines located at precincts and in the office, were purchased originally using Help America Vote Act (HAVA) money in 2004. At the time, maintenance was contracted and paid for by the state. With that agreement expiring, counties now are responsible for the maintenance of the equipment.
“The original cost for this as proposed by ES&S was very expensive, but they have since revised the cost, and although it is still expensive, the board felt it was necessary to continue maintenance on the machines,” Campbell said. “The board members have been considering this contract for almost a year, so it was a decision that was not made without a lot of thought and discussion.
“Voter confidence in the election process is extremely important and that includes confidence in the way ballots are handled and counted on election day,” she said. “By continuing maintenance, we are able to provide records showing our equipment has been checked and is tabulating correctly.”