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Portune seeks more vote options

By Tony Cook
Cincinnati Post staff reporter   04 February 2005

Hamilton County Commissioner Todd Portune sent a letter to Secretary of State Ken Blackwell Thursday asking him to reconsider his directive requiring the state's 88 counties to use one of two vendors' optical scan voting systems in Ohio.

Portune said systems offered by the vendors Blackwell named require ballots that cost 25 cents to $1.25, while other systems would allow the county to print its own ballots at a lower cost.

"The cost of those ballots is significant for a county the size of Hamilton County and creates for us an additional unfunded mandate the may approach as much as $1 million or more per election," Portune wrote.

Blackwell announced last month that optical scan systems, with paper ballots scanned by machines, would serve as the state's primary voting system.

He named Diebold Elections Systems and Election Systems and Software as vendors qualified to offer the system in Ohio.

In April, Blackwell chose voting machine vendor, Hart InterCivic, for Hamilton County when the Board of Elections deadlocked over which vendor to use.

But with increased voter registration last year and the General Assembly's decision to require a verified voter paper trail, Blackwell limited counties to the cheaper optical scan system.

Hart InterCivic offers a system that allows for less expensive ballots, Portune said.

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