Board of election looks toward new electronic poll books


By Blythe Alspaugh - balspaugh@aimmediamidwest.com



SIDNEY — Discussion regarding a new electronicnpoll book system continued at the Shelby County Board of Elections’ Monday meeting.

Currently, the Shelby County BOE is the last in Ohio to use the vendor VOTEC Corp. for its electronic poll books, and has been looking into updating the technology used in elections since July of last year. The BOE is looking toward replacing the VOTEC system with Election Systems & Software (ES&S) technology in 2023.

Deputy Director Collin Claywell said that representatives from ES&S would be attending the Ohio Association of Election Officials’ Winter Conference next week, and that they would be giving demonstrations at the conference. Currently, Claywell and Director Pam Kerrigan will be attending the conference. Board Chairman James Kerg expressed interest in scheduling a demonstration for the ES&S poll books prior to February’s regular meeting.

“My own reaction as a capital expenditure guy from the business side is, them doing a demo for the whole state in Columbus is one thing. I would want them to be very customized for our needs, and inform them what we’re looking for. We’re certainly not going to make an acquisition, decision or recommendation to the commissioners based off of a demo they do in Columbus,” Kerg said.

Additionally, there is a maintenance contract of $5,000 per year for the ES&S poll books. Comparatively, the BOE has paid $4,700 in the past for a similar contract with VOTEC Corp., according to Kerrigan.

ES&S has given Claywell two quotes for stand options for the electronic poll books, both of which are only for the stand and do not include software or hardware. One stand option is quoted for a premiere flipstand, and the other is quoted for an older model stand that is essentially a Lazy Susan-type device. Claywell said that other counties that have used Lazy Susan-type stand models mentioned that, when rotating their poll books, it would break down the wires. He added he hoped to bring up those concerns with his point of contact prior to a demonstration.

The BOE also discussed the possibility of replacing the tables and bags used during elections.

Kerrigan brought up that many of the tables the BOE uses have chunks missing out of corners and have withstood wear and tear over the years, especially as several have to be transported to Cynthian Township during elections. The replacement tables would be the same size and dimensions as the current tables in use, and the old tables could be taken to Cynthian Township and kept there for elections, rather than transported back and forth as needed. The total estimated cost to replace the tables is $2,000.

Kerrigan added that while the bags the BOE currently uses are still functional, they are starting to show wear and tear. Currently, Claywell has received a quote of $9,000 from Rifkin Election Supplies on bags that could replace the current bags in use. He also requested a custom bag that would be the same size as the current bags, with a shoulder strap and room for anything extra that may need to be carried by poll workers on election night.

The next Shelby County BOE meeting will be held at 10 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 14.

By Blythe Alspaugh

balspaugh@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach the writer at balspaugh@aimmediamidwest.com

Reach the writer at balspaugh@aimmediamidwest.com