Tuesday, June 17, 2008

6/10/08 The Vendor Choice Continues

On 6/10/08 the CCBOE again considered the tough question of next equipment procurement in public session - ES&S or Hart. The board put together and distributed the bids and responses from the 5/23 meeting questions for comparison. You'll find that 60+ page compilation here, in three parts. To get it all, download all three to see the bids, responses to previous questions, including those about pending litigation, and new memos etc.

Through the 6/10 questioning, for fairness to both vendors, and to get all the answers they still needed to the constantly arising questions about constantly arising and realized nuances of offers and pricing, they recessed that meeting until 6/12, when the principals of the two companies could be there, and when they expected them to attend - with their best offers and prices.
It was after that meeting that Guillen of the PD wrote:
Cuyahoga County may have to cut budget, staff to pay for elections
Posted by Joe Guillen June 10, 2008 18:00PM
Categories: Breaking News, Election, News Impact

Incessant spending for new voting equipment by the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections is about to have an impact on the rest of the county.If Board of Elections Director Jane Platten has her way, up to $13 million will be shelled out for new equipment for the November election. No matter what system is used, even if it is rented for less, Commissioner Tim Hagan said budget cuts and possible layoffs in other departments will be needed.

The election board has already spent at least $23.5 million since 2005 on voting machines. Of that, about $8 million was supplied by the county. The rest came from the federal government.

This November, as the county prepares to use its third voting system in last three major elections, all the money is likely to come from the county general fund. Cuyahoga already was projecting a $13 million general fund-operating deficit for this year. Voting machine purchases will dig the hole deeper.

On Tuesday, Platten discouraged election board members from going a cheaper route for November - renting machines for $7 million. Instead, she urged them to buy older technology machines to halt the now common practice of putting in a new system every election.

The board sat on the recommendation and will take it up again Thursday.

Platten met with commissioners later in the day. It was then that Hagan mentioned the effect the board's spending was having on the rest of the county. But not all of it has been this election board's fault.

Former Ohio Secretary of State Kenneth Blackwell directed one new equipment purchase; current Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner ordered its replacement and the state legislature orchestrated this next one.

Hagan said "non-mandated" services, such as county-funded childcare, would be first on the chopping block.

The only film I've processed from that meeting is the very last portion - the public comments, including my own. I have decided to post that clip here, here - only because I think the message is so important for the electorate to ask for, and insist upon. The CD's that Ray gave to the CCBOE, of course were taken from Nancy Tobi's videos about hand counting elections - the spirit of the people's elections. (I gave copies of that CD to the Commissioners in '06....We'll see if these do more good.)

No matter what equipment is purchased/leased, in November, the CCBOE must include hand counting of at least the presidential race at the polls, and post the results at the precincts that night. The equipment is all too unknown and proven insecure/untrustworthy; and presidential election history is too shaky to do otherwise.
It does mean the next four years for us all.

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