Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County OKs Purchase of $192,900 Worth of Voting Equipment

Newspaper article The Topeka Capital-Journal

Shawnee County OKs Purchase of $192,900 Worth of Voting Equipment

Article excerpt

Nineteen days before the 2016 general election, Shawnee County commissioners approved the purchase Thursday of additional equipment for the county's election office at an estimated cost of $192,900.

Commissioners Shelly Buhler, Bob Archer and Kevin Cook voted 3-0 to authorize election commissioner Andrew Howell to buy the equipment.

Howell told commissioners his office is in "pretty good shape" as the election approaches, though he could use another 50 Election Day volunteers.

He said more than 700 people have volunteered to help but he'd like to have people on hand to replace the 7 to 10 percent of volunteers who generally drop out in the weeks just before the election. Those interested in volunteering are encouraged to call the office at (785) 251-5900.

Advance voting begins Monday in the election office at 3420 S.W. Van Buren, which will initially be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. next week, Howell said.

Archer said Shawnee County has spent close to $2 million on election equipment, not including about $300,000 it used to acquire electronic polling books known as "poll pads," and asked Howell what the county is getting for its money.

Howell said the acquisitions have enabled the election office to:

- Stop storing votes on a hard drive in favor of using a paper- based system, which protects the integrity of the elections by ensuring votes are recorded accurately.

- Improve its customer service.

- To a degree, improve its efficiency.

Thursday's commission vote authorized moves that included waiving bidding procedures to make purchases of two secure ballot racks for an estimated $22,000, 25 ExpressVote ballot-marking devices for an estimated $75,500 and 100 ballot box totes for an estimated $20,500. The marking devices help keep the county in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Help American Vote Act. …

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