New Voting Machines - The Gift That Keeps On Costing
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By John Gideon, VotersUnite.org
December 09, 2006
During hearings last year in which Salt Lake County's voting systems purchase decisions were being considered, citizens testified in writing and in person that DREs were the most expensive choice, and that the County should opt for precinct-based optical scan due in part to reduced ongoing maintenance and operations costs.
But county clerks found themselves constrained in part by the state's selection of a specific vendor. The ramifactions of those constraints are now being felt.
Recently Salt Lake City, Utah's KCPW News reported the following:
Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon, says the upkeep and storage of electronic voting machines is taking a toll on the county's budget:
"The federal government gave us money for new machines but they didn't give us money for storing the machines. They didn't give us money to hire new technicians for these machines."
The County budget for 2007, which is nearing completion, doesn't include money for more machines. Corroon says technical support and housing for existing machines has cost the county "millions and millions" of dollars already and he hopes the state and federal governments step up and help with the expense.
The above is happening in many counties in the United States. The federal government bought the machines and paid for the first year, in many cases. Now the federal government is done paying and the onus goes onto the states and counties.
Where do these counties, that all must balance a budget, get the funds? What has to be given up just so these counties can have nice new voting machines? What must go? School programs? Parks? Street repairs?
Or maybe the elections offices can scrimp. Lay-off one or two employees and cut back on security costs; do Logic & Accuracy testing on a smaller percentage of the machines; cut corners in holding elections; do less maintenance on the machines; combine precincts and let people stand in lines?
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