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Election Commissioner recommends purchase of new voting machines

On May 17, Johnson County Election Commissioner Ronnie Metsker will recommend the Board of County Commissioners approve the purchase of 2,100 new voting machines for a total cost of approximately $10.5 million.

“These new machines will provide the latest technology with significantly improved features, most important of which is the voter verifiable paper audit trail,” Metsker said. “This allows individuals to see a record of their votes on paper before they cast their ballot and it allows the county to maintain paper records of every vote.”

In 2015, Johnson County joined Shawnee, Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties in an unprecedented request for proposal to bring these new technologies at a reduced cost to the state.

“The machines we have today are safe and secure, but do not provide the voter verifiable paper audit trail, which is critical for voter confidence in the process,” Metsker said.

Metsker is recommending purchasing the machines from the vendor, Election Systems & Software, the same vendor used by the three other Kansas counties.

“By collaborating on this request for proposal with Shawnee, Sedgwick and Wyandotte counties, we are seeing much greater efficiencies for all four counties,” Metsker said.

Complexities arose in choosing the machines in Johnson County because of the large population and an increasing number of voting locations. In 2016, the county increased from four to six advance voting locations which resulted in 60 percent of voters voting in advance.                                                       

If approved, the machines are expected to arrive in June in preparation for the August primary.

The county will set the new machines up in various locations for demonstrations to voters who want to try them out prior to the August primary.

For more information, go to www.jocoelection.org.