LaRose Proposes Changes to Bill Aimed at Updating Voting Machines in Ohio
COLUMBUS—State Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) today proposed changes to Senate Bill 135, which provides funding to assist counties in upgrading their outdated voting equipment.
“Voting machines are the essential infrastructure of our democratic process. It is a shared responsibility of state and county governments to ensure that these machines are properly maintained,” said Senator LaRose, sponsor of Senate Bill 135.
Counties will be given a fixed amount based on the number of registered voters to help with the startup costs that are associated with buying new machines. The remaining funds are then distributed proportionally to each county based on the number of registered voters.
The funding break down for counties is as follows:
- Counties with 0-19,000 registered voters will be given a base amount of $205,000
- Counties with 20,000-99,999 registered voters will be given a base amount of $250,000
- Counties with 100,000+ registered voters will be given $406,000
- The remaining funds will then be distributed on a per registered voter basis.
Of the $114.5 million allocated for Ohio’s next generation of voting machines, $10 million will be general revenue funding for reimbursement of counties which have already purchased new machines. The remaining funds will then be used to help counties who will be purchasing machines in the near future.
“We cannot allow Ohio’s future elections to be compromised due to failing voting machines. This issue needs to be addressed now before major technical issues disrupt the integrity of our elections,” LaRose added. “Ohioans should be confident now and into the future that their vote will be cast on a secure and reliable voting machine.”
Senate Bill 135 requires the establishment of a bipartisan advisory committee tasked with providing input throughout the process. Steps will be made throughout the entire process to ensure transparency.
Senator’s LaRose’s proposal is the product of months of collaboration between various government agencies, including the Office of the Secretary of State, as well as the Ohio County Commissioner’s Association and Ohio Association of Elections Officials. The Secretary of State and Department of Administrative Services are the agencies accountable for negotiating costs and administering the entire procurement process for these new machines.
Senator LaRose was joined today by State Representatives Steve Arndt and Louis Blessing III who are introducing companion legislation in the House.
“I am pleased to be a part of and offer my support of this legislation,” said Representative Arndt. “This bill will ensuring that our local board of elections will have the financial means to replace and update their voting equipment that will ensure our future election proceed with current and reliable technology.”
“I’m pleased to offer my support for Senator LaRose’s voting machines legislation,” said Representative Blessing III. “Our election infrastructure, if I may call it that, is badly in need of an update. This is especially important given the national discussion on election security. I believe that Senator Larose’s legislation offers the most pragmatic and fiscally sound approach and I applaud him for his efforts.”
From a press release originally posted on OhioSenate.gov/LaRose