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St. Charles County May Spend $800,000 on New Voting Machines

St. Charles County Council will consider the purchase of 260 new machines at the February council meeting.

St. Charles County may spend $810,000 on 260 new electronic voting machines. 

Director of the Election Authority Rich Chrismer said some of the current optical scan lasers don't read ballots as they should. 

"Things are just wearing out," he said. 

Timing on this issue is key. The county can take advantage of a $129,000 grant, but must approve the purchase of the new machines by Feb. 14. In 2013, the county could get another nearly $50,000 grant for a total savings of about $180,000. 

The cost for 260 machines would be $810,000. 

Chrismer said he has saved the money for seven years to replace the machines by leasing them out to other areas. 

Last year, County Executive Steve Ehlmann vetoed spending $1.2 million to purchase new equipment because there was only one vendor in the state who held the appropriate certification. 

Director of Finance Bob Schnur said this time, the county again received just one bid although there is now a second company certified.

The bid, from the same company that bid the first time, was lower. 

Councilman Mike Klinghammer, who was recently sworn in, asked Chrismer for a written synopsis of the problems the election authority has faced with the current equipment. 

The St. Charles County Council may approve the purchase at the February Council meeting. The machines would be used for the first time in April 2014. 

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