The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Local News

November 20, 2012

Commissioners OK $717,200 contract to maintain voting machines

ANDERSON, Ind. — Purchased during the era of hanging chads — remember those tiny bits of paper that played a pivotal role in the 2000 presidential election? — Madison County’s voting machines have proved a good buy.

They’ve lasted eight years already, and the county can expect to get another 10 out of them, said Jeremy Burton, Indiana manager for Election Systems and Software, the Greenwood company that made them.

His comments came as the Board of County Commissioners on Tuesday unanimously approved a new four-year, $717,200 maintenance agreement for the devices.

“That’s kind of a lot of money,” said John Richwine, R-North District, “but we’ve never had any problems with these machines.”

Burton said the county’s voting machines are in excellent shape despite their age. “Madison County, in my view, has done the smart thing in maintaining them.”

Richwine said county officials spent a lot of time reviewing available voting equipment before settling on ES&S.

“I think that was a really good decision on our part,” Richwine said. “At that time they were very expensive and that cost had to be spread over several years.”

What officials liked at the time, and voters still appreciate, is that the touch screens are large and easy to read. They are also Americans with Disabilities Act compliant, Richwine added.

Burton said developing and bringing voting machines is a long and costly process because of the federal and state certifications that must be obtained before they can be put in service. The next generation of machines similar to Madison current inventory, for example, likely won’t on the market for another four to five years, Burton said.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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