County's voting machines holding up PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER, Sentinel Staff Writer   
Monday, 24 February 2014 10:27
Voting_rotator
File photo. (J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Wood County's touchscreen voting machines are aging but still in good shape for now, and they're tested before each election.
With Ohio's secretary of state calling for an influx of technology or fewer regulations on what machines can be used, the 618 touchscreen machines here are not experiencing significant problems, said Terry Burton, director of the Wood County Board of Elections.
"We send a little higher percentage now for repair than we did five years ago, but we have not noticed a dramatic uptick" in technical problems, Burton said.
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted last week said the federal government should pay for upgraded machines or ease restrictions on what states can allow counties to use.
Ohio spent $115 million for touchscreen and ballot-scanning devices from 2005 to 2006, and Husted urged federal officials not to wait until a problem arises to fund such advances again.
But for now, Burton says Wood County's machines are in good enough working order.
"We test them every election," Burton said. "We pull every machine out, and we test it with the actual candidates that are going to be on that ballot to make sure the touch screen is reacting the way it should."
The county uses 538 voting machines during a typical election, all touchscreen. Burton said an average of 8 to 12 need to be repaired each year in Dallas, with costs varying from around $150 to fix the plastic exterior, up to $400 or $500 if the screen needs to be replaced. Each machine costs about $2,700.
While malfunction isn't yet a critical concern, Burton said the state should begin to plan for an upgrade in the next 5 to 10 years.
The problem is that by restricting what technology can be used, regulations have kept many manufacturers from exploring new devices and technology.
"None of the companies are putting money into that research because regulations limit them so much on what they can do," Burton said.SClB"I think they obviously need to look at maybe advancing our technology versus reverting it. Going from touchscreen back to paper seems to be a step back for us."
Last Updated on Monday, 24 February 2014 10:51
 

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