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Arkansas Latest To Discover That HAVA Is The Gift That Keeps On Giving - To The Voting Industry PDF Print Email
By Warren Stewart, VoteTrustUSA   
September 01, 2006

No Federal Money To Pay For Ongoing Cost Of HAVA Purchases

 

Arkansas is discovering what other states across the country have already found out – running elections on electronic voting machines is expensive – very expensive. And while the federal government was very generous in footing the voting industry’s bill for purchasing the machines, the ongoing costs are the responsibility of the individual counties and the state’s Board of Election Commissioners. This all worked out just right for Diebold, ES&S, Sequoia, and the others – the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) puts billions in their pockets for equipment that costs more billions every year to service, program, and maintain. What a racket!

According to a Arkansas Democrat-Gazette article “This spring’s primary and runoff elections — the first held since a federal law expanded the use of electronic voting machines — cost Arkansas roughly $600,000 more than elections in recent years, according to estimates released Wednesday. State officials attributed the added expense to the cost of programming the electronic voting machines and printing specialized ballots.”

We’re talking about operating costs – not the cost of purchasing the machines – ES&S got $15 million from federal taxpayers for that. This is just the cost of running the elections - $2.3 million statewide in 2002, $2.9 million this year. Ongoing costs include ballot printing, programming the vote-counting and electronic-voting machines, the audio recordings for blind-accessible voting machines and the paper used to print hard copies of votes cast on touch-screen voting machines.

And the Board of Election Commissioners is expecting 2008 to cost even more - Susie Stormes, director of the Board of Election Commissioners, said preliminary estimates show that 2008 election costs will grow to as much as $ 3. 7 million as the state replaces old voting equipment in more counties.

Facing a budget shortfall for the current fiscal year of $154,000, the Board will be asking for an additional $2 million from the State Assembly for election administration.

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