The Monroe County commissioners have postponed a vote on purchasing 2012 voting equipment until Monday because of an Election Board vote that rejected a proposal for vote centers.
Commissioner Iris Kiesling says they needed more time to decide what equipment would give them the best deal for their money.
“Now that we have to provide service to eighty-two precincts, although some of those might be co-located, we have to look at our numbers and see what the best proposal is that we have before us,” she says.
Kiesling quoted a Financial Policy Institute report released last year that said vote center elections would cost Monroe County nearly $87,000. Precinct elections would cost $161,000. That does not include the 15 new precincts that will be added this year. County Clerk Linda Robbins, who voted in favor of the vote centers, says the higher cost is why finding the voting equipment could be difficult.
“This is the commissioners challenge at this point in time is to see how they can be the most frugal in this time because we just don’t have the money to spend,” she says.
Robbins says she is doing all she can to make sure next year’s elections run smoothly. She says she wants to prevent a repeat of this November’s election when the county was forced to go without electronic voting equipment, resulting in a two-day delay of the final results. She says there are still some hurdles ahead.
“It’s going to be a year of changes, and it would have been whether we had voting centers or not, but this is going to be a little more difficult I believe for voters to get under their hat,” she says.
Robbins says many voters will have to change precincts, so they should keep an eye out for notification of their voting location after January 20. The first priority, she says, should be purchasing the new equipment.