CCAO President Daniel Troy, a Lake County commissioner, and Union County Commissioner Gary Lee today joined Sen. Frank LaRose at a press conference to unveil his proposal to provide funding for election equipment replacement that will be amended into his S.B. 135. Reps. Steve Arndt, a former Ottawa County commissioner, and Bill Blessing, who will lead the election equipment replacement effort in the House, were also present.
Most of Ohio’s current elections equipment was purchased in 2005 and 2006 and is nearing the end of its useful life. Sub SB 135 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 vendors to ensure Ohio gets the best and lowest cost voting equipment.
“The pressure on county budgets to provide for the myriad components of conducting elections has been increasing at a rate greater than our revenues,” Troy said. “This apparent willingness by the General Assembly to work with the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) and the Ohio Association of Election’s Officials (OAEO) to address this election administration infrastructure need is certainly in the best interest of our citizens and our democracy.”
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 bill that was introduced today is a big step for the state to fulfill its obligation as an election partner with Ohio’s counties. County commissioners believe that the state should provide some additional funds to counties because there will be significant costs in implementing and training staff and poll workers,” Lee said. “We are pleased that Sen. LaRose has introduced a bill that will pave the way for new equipment that will provide for fair and accurate elections for the people of Ohio.”
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.