MANSFIELD -- The Richland County Commissioners unanimously voted to allow the Richland County Board of Elections to negotiate a contract with Dominion Voting Systems.
Commissioners Tony Vero, Marilyn John and Darrell Banks met with the Richland County Board of Elections Thursday afternoon to discuss purchasing a minimum of 84 new voting booths to be used over the next 10 years. There are 83 precincts in Richland County.
This vote completed step one of the four step process for getting new machines.
The current plan is to purchase 520 touch-screen, tablet-style voting machines that each come with their own transport bag, back-up battery, and eight gigabyte USB flash-drive, John said.
The goal is to have new voting booths purchased by May, in time for the primary.
They spoke for about 30 minutes about two types of voting systems, direct recording electric systems (DRE) from Dominion Voting Systems and a paper/digital hybrid system from Election System and Software systems (ESS).
Throughout the special meeting, all three commissioners shared their preference for the DRE system because it was most similar to the current system and would take less time for users to figure the system out.
Both systems would cost similarly, Vero noted just before the resolution was called.
Because the state of Ohio has given Richland County about $1.1 million dollars for new equipment as a down payment, Vero said, the county will not have to use any funds for the first year to pay for the systems.
Vero said the commissioners have been given an estimated total of $675,651 for the purchase of new booths.
Paulette Hankins, director of the Board of Elections, said she knew of five counties which were leaning toward using the DRE system. She said she did not know any one using or thinking of using the ESS models.