All 88 counties in Ohio will soon have upgraded voting equipment, pending Governor John Kasich’s signature.
Senate Bill 135 has passed both the House and Senate and would provide more than $100 million in upgrades to voting equipment throughout the state.
The legislation allows officials in each county to determine what kind of equipment they would like to purchase, but the machines must produce a voter verified paper audit trail and be certified by the Ohio Board of Voting Machine Examiners.
The Belmont County Board of Elections, however, is already using updated voting machines.
Board of Elections Director William Shubat says many counties are using touch screen machines that were obtained in the 2000s thanks to the Help America Vote Act.
About two years ago, Belmont County switched to optical scan balloting which uses a paper ballot and an optical scan machine.
You may be thinking: How are paper ballots an upgrade from touch screen machines?
Shubat says, “As far as the technology for security, we’re not hooked into any phone lines or any system. It’s a standalone system. No one can get into our system and hack it.”
Shubat also says the feedback from voters has been positive.
He says voters feel good and confident about being able to see a physical representation of their vote and scan their ballots in themselves to ensure they have been counted.
Senate Bill 135, if signed by Governor Kasich, would provide funding to counties, like Belmont County, to reimburse Board of Elections that have already acquired voting equipment on or after January 1, 2014.
State Representative Jack Bera of Belmont County is a co-sponsor of this bill.