Thursday, January 24, 2008

Fayette to add precinct paper ballot optical scans

Update Jan. 25 includes links to news articles below...

Two Fayette County commissioners, Chairman Vincent Zapotosky, and Vincent Vicites, opted to initiate a plan to acquire paper ballot optical scan - eScan - to amount to one for each voting precinct, with a few extras, and make provisions for a way to scale back the county's direct recording electronic (DRE) eSlates, to only meet the federal requirements to provide one handicapped accessible unit per precinct.

The sScans, also marketed by Hart InterCivic, according to the commissioners' report, cost more than the DREs, known as eSlates. Discussion included a plan to sell off those DREs that aren't needed to meet federal HAVA regulations.

Both presented a few minutes of reasoning for the option to consider a plan to move forward to acquire the paper ballots with the optical scans.

The original agenda item was phrased to consider purchase of additional eSlates, or another voting system.

Commissioner Angela Zimmerlink made a motion to purchase the eSlates, but the motion died for lack of a second.

Hopefully, as the meeting was videotaped by local news media, a copy of the meeting will be broadcast soon so we can better report what all was said. We may obtain a copy of the meeting's unedited audio-minutes...

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Paper ballot voting system may be purchased
By Amy Zalar, Herald-Standard
Updated 01/24/2008 09:00:22 PM EST

Voters in Fayette County unhappy with the electronic voting system in place for the past few elections may have an option in November, although the issue of long lines at the polls may not be addressed prior to the April 22 primary.

Although several voting machine options were discussed during Thursday's commissioners meeting, the end result was a motion to formulate a plan that could mean the future purchase of a paper ballot voting system.

Commission Chairman Vincent Zapotosky and Commissioner Vincent A. Vicites approved a motion to develop a plan to purchase eScan machines from Hart Intercivic. Commissioner Angela M. Zimmerlink voted against the action, instead making a motion to purchase 50 additional eSlate machines with the money the commissioners previously set aside for such a purchase.

The motion to purchase addition eSlate machines did not receive a second. Zapotosky said he thinks such a purchase would be throwing good money away.

Vicites said he has been doing a lot of research for the past couple weeks, specifically regarding the eSlate electronic dial machine as compared to the eScan paper ballot system.

Vicites said he called a couple counties that use both systems and received positive comments.

"I favor at this point going with the eScan system," Vicites said.

Vicites added that the eScan is more expensive than the eSlate machines, and a plan would have to be formulated how to make up the difference. The county budgeted $170,000 to purchase 55 new eSlate machines, but Vicites said the necessary number of eScan machines would cost about $472,000, for a difference of $300,000.

Zapotosky said he never has been a fan of the eSlate system.

"The question is, "Do we put a cost on the greatest right we have as a citizen?'" Zapotosky said.

Fayette studies different types of voting machines
By Mary Pickels
Friday, January 25, 2008
After a lengthy discussion Thursday, Fayette County commissioners agreed to formulate a plan to purchase more and possibly different voting machines.
But it is unknown if machines can be leased in time for the April 22 primary.

Two weeks ago, commissioners considered ordering additional eSlate electronic voting machines in an effort to eliminate long waits at some precincts.

But they also agreed to consider Uniontown resident's ... suggestion that the county buy electronic voting machines that scan paper ballots.

The eScan machines allow for a paper record of each vote and can be used in conjunction with the eSlate machines...

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