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Punch cards knocked out PORTER COUNTY: County could get new election equipment by August
NWI Times. June 8, 2005. BY MATTHEW VAN DUSEN
VALPARAISO | It's official: Porter County can choose its own election equipment.

The County Commissioners approved a contract on Tuesday with Omaha, Neb.-based Election System and Software to provide new voting machines for the county's 125 voting precincts. The county had until the end of this month to enter into a contract to buy voting machines that meet Help America Vote Act requirements or the state would have chosen the equipment.

In May, the county's election board approved the purchase of 140 optical scan tabulators, which use paper ballots that voters feed into the machine. Voting watchdog groups generally approve of these machines because they leave a paper trail for recounts.

County Clerk Dale Brewer expects delivery of the machines in August.

The commissioners also approved a resolution that allows Brewer to ask the federal and state governments for $8,000 per precinct and $50,000 for software, a total of $1.05 million, to pay for the equipment. She will ask for the money later this month.

The equipment contract is for $1.3 million, a cost that does not include voting equipment that is required by law for people with disabilities. Brewer estimates the difference between what the federal and state grant money will buy and the final cost is about $600,000.

The county will have to find this money in its budget, and the commissioners said they will not honor the contract if the County Council does not approve the money. Brewer plans to go before the council in July

The act was passed in 2002 and requires polls to have election equipment that meets certain standards and provide accessibility for the disabled, among other provisions. The county's old punch card system, also provided by Election System and Software, can no longer be used under the law.


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