COLUMBUS, Ohio – County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) and Ohio Association of Election Officials (OAEO) commends the Ohio House for unanimously passing sub SB 135, a bill introduced by Sen. Frank LaRose that appropriates nearly $115 million for counties to make desperately needed upgrades to voting technology. It also creates a bipartisan committee of state and local officials to negotiate prices with voting machine vendors to ensure Ohio gets the best and lowest cost voting equipment.
“Ohio’s 88 counties serve as agents of the state and administering elections in our 88 boards of elections offices is a crucial part of that role,” Lake County Commissioner Daniel Troy said. “The House’s action today to address this election administration infrastructure issue is in the best interest of our democracy, and I hope it is the beginning to a stronger partnership between state and county governments.”
Most of Ohio’s current elections equipment was purchased in 2005 and 2006 and is nearing the end of its useful life. CCAO and OAEO have been working together for over five years with the Ohio House and Senate, the Administration, and the Secretary of State to promote a state/county partnership to establish a program to provide for the acquisition and deployment of new voting equipment across Ohio prior to the 2020 presidential election.
“The quick and thoughtful action of the House on this bill will ensure that counties that need new voting equipment can have it in time for the 2019 elections. That is imperative to make sure Ohio is ready for 2020,” said OAEO First Vice-President Rob Frost.
“There is nothing more fundamental than fair and accurate elections that protect our democracy,” Union County Commissioner Gary Lee added. “The bill is a big step for the state to fulfill its obligation as an election partner with Ohio’s counties. I would like to thank Sen. LaRose for his leadership on this most important issue as well as Representatives Steve Arndt and Bill Blessing for managing the bill in the House.”
“In an environment where every level of government is struggling to meet the needs of their citizens, this partnership represents the best of our elected officials working together for the common good. Under SB 135 every citizen of Ohio wins,” concluded Luke Scott, Second Vice-President of OAEO.
The County Commissioners Association of Ohio advances effective county government for Ohio through legislative advocacy, education and training, technical assistance and research, quality enterprise service programs, and greater citizen awareness and understanding of county government.
OAEO is a bipartisan organization representing Ohio’s 88 county boards of elections and their staff members. Its mission is to promote fair, accurate and reliable elections through the education of its members and advocating for sound election policies.