Commissioners talk plans for voting machine replacement

The county’s election machines will need to be replaced in the foreseeable future.

Elections Director Lisa Rivett asked the Warren County Commissioners what their plan was for the machines during Wednesday’s budget session.

Commissioner Jeff Eggleston said the machines are a potential budget target for 2020.

“What if they de-commission our machines next summer?” Rivett asked.

Eggleston said that the state has indicated that wouldn’t happen prior to next fall’s election.

Rivett pointed out that if new machines were implemented for the 2020 primary that would place a roll out on a presidential primary.

Eggleston said he would “prefer not to” roll out in a presidential year.

“We’re being put between a rock and a hard place,” he said, noting that the status of state funding is unclear. “(I) would rather make the purchase with the funding lined up… rather than (to) ask for the funding afterwards.”

He indicated it is “something we will talk about next year.”

Commissioner Ben Kafferlin said most financing options don’t include a payment in the first 12 months. That likely leaves little impact to the 2019 budget if new machines must be acquired.

“We had some issues this year with the screens wearing out,” Rivett added.

“I don’t want to commit to anything right now,” Kafferlin said.

Eggleston said the budget is likely to be re-opened at some point next year and added that the machines could be leased out of contingency funds if needed.

Rivett said leasing the machines might be the way to go “but that is a discussion for next year.”

“We’re aware of the concern,” Eggleston said.