Columbus - 

State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) joined Rep. Bill Blessing (R-Colerain Township) and Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) to propose changes to Senate Bill 135, which provides funding to assist counties in upgrading their outdated voting equipment.


"I am pleased to be a part of and offer my support of this legislation," said Arndt. "This bill will ensure 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."


Most of Ohio’s current elections equipment was purchased in 2005 and 2006 and is nearing the end of its useful life.  Under 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. 


"I'm pleased to offer my support for Senator LaRose's voting machines legislation," said Representative Blessing III (R-Colerain). "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."

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.  


"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.


The proposal is the product of months of collaboration between various government agencies, including the Office of the Secretary of State, as well as the County Commissioners Association of Ohio (CCAO) and Ohio Association of Elections Officials (OAEO). 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.


“The pressure on county budgets to provide for the myriad components of conducting elections has been increasing at a rate greater than our revenues,” said CCAO President Daniel Troy. “This apparent willingness by the General Assembly to work with the CCAO and the OAEO to address this election administration infrastructure need is certainly in the best interest of our citizens and our democracy.”

Senate Bill 135 will continue to be reviewed in the Senate Finance Committee.

 
 
 
  
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Rep. Arndt Supports Changes To Bill Aimed At Updating Voting Machines In Ohio

 
Columbus - 

State Representative Steve Arndt (R-Port Clinton) joined Rep. Bill Blessing (R-Colerain Township) and Senator Frank LaRose (R-Hudson) to propose changes to Senate Bill 135, which provides funding to assist counties in upgrading their outdated voting equipment.