MANSFIELD — Richland County voters will use all new voting machines when they go the polls for the general election on Nov. 5.
County commissioners on Tuesday morning approved a contract with Dominion Voting Systems, a $2.5 million deal that will cost the county $710,941, or about 28 percent of the total cost.
The state will pay $1,186,090 (48 percent) through legislation signed by former Gov. John Kasich in 2018 aimed at helping counties update voting equipment before the 2020 presidential election.
Another $600,991 (24 percent) in a trade-in allowance on the county’s 11-year-old voting equipment will account for the rest of the expense.
Local funds will come from the county’s capital investment fund ($498,000) and the remainder ($212,000) from the Board of Elections voting equipment fund.
Commissioners and local elections officials noted they had saved money for the project, which has been discussed for the last four years.
“This is a big deal and it’s a big deal that we can pay cash for it,” Commissioner Tony Vero said.
Dominion is a Canadian-based company that now has contracts throughout the United States and has been approved by the Ohio Secretary of State as a vendor.
The county will purchase 520 voting machines, which resemble “giant iPads” with touch-screen systems that operate much like the voting machines they are replacing.
The county has 83 voting precincts spread among 47 different voting locations. By law, Hankins said, they must have one voting machine per 175 registered voters.
“They were the most like the current system that we saw, which is something we liked,” said Board of Elections Director Paulette Hankins.
The county will pay $128,350 annually to maintain a hardware/software warranty during the expected decade-long lifespan of the new voting system.
Also on Tuesday:
— Commissioners discussed a planned new wage scale study among the 200 non-union employees of general fund agencies and non-general fund agencies that report to commissioners. Commissioners said the purpose of the study, which they said could take a few years to complete, is not aimed at restricting or reducing wages. They said the goal is to identify differences between agencies and to make the county more competitive in terms of salary in hopes of better retaining talented employees.
— Approved contracts for the Richland County Job & Family Services for $8.3 million in annual operating funds from the Ohio Department of Job & Family Services and also for the Ohio Department of Medicaid to add a third staff member to the local office. The state pays the county for the office space it uses.
— Discussed a contract for Dayspring, the county home, to provide therapy dog services for residents, with costs being covered by insurance.