Cuyahoga County May Scrap E-Voting Machines
Cuyahoga County Commissioners Jimmy Dimora (D) and Tim Hagan (D) told the Cleveland Plain Dealer that they are considering dumping electronic voting machines purchased since the problematic 2004 election at a cost of about $17 million, subsidized by federal money under the HAVA Act.
The County spent an extra $14 million on training, extra equipment, and postage for absentee ballots to avert a disastrous election this fall. Dimora and Hagan said that the county simply can't afford to pay that kind of money to make elections go smoothly. The concern about 2008 is that turnout for presidential elections is much larger than for other elections. Consultant Tom Hayes informed the Board of Elections in his last report that the current e-voting system cannot easily accomodate an increase in voter turnout, unlike voting on paper and using high-speed optical scanning machines. The county already uses optical scanners for absentee ballots, and Hagan and Dimora are considering using them for all votes.
The commissioners have not approached the Board of Elections about their idea. Chairman Bob Bennett (also Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party) is not impressed. He told the Plain Dealer that he understands the commissioners' concerns, but that extra expenditure won't be required for every election.