January 11, 2017
Johnson County, Missouri Says Yes to ES&S
Johnson County, Missouri voters will be greeted with updated technology at the polls this April thanks to a decision by the county commission. Commissioners evaluated two bids for a new voter check-in solution, ballot marking devices and tabulation equipment. Though one appeared to be lower, after calculating maintenance, programming and ballot printing cost ES&S emerged as the more economical choice. The ExpressPoll, ExpressVote and DS200 also received high marks from election judges during side-by-side demonstrations during the procurement process.
Johnson County found the ES&S system to be a better value over the life of the equipment and more user-friendly, influencing the final decision to purchase. You can read more about Johnson County, MO’s purchase decision in the below article from the November 30 edition of The Daily Star-Journal which Electionline.org also featured last month.
SUE STERLING | The Daily Star Journal Staff Writer
Warrensburg – Johnson County voters will have new electronic equipment to use when they go to the polls for the April 4 municipal election.
County commissioners approved a bid of $213,634 Monday to buy ExpressPolls, touch screens and tabulating equipment. U.S. Bank will finance the purchase for three years at a 1.92 percent interest rate.
County Clerk Diane Thompson said Election Systems and Software submitted the winning bid over a bid submitted by Adkins Printing. Adkins’ bid appeared the lowest, based on the $223,100 cost of the equipment and the $60,237 package discount, Thompson said, which brought the purchase price to $162,863. But she said Adkins had higher annual maintenance and programming costs and higher per-ballot printing costs, which made the ES&S bid cheaper.
In 2017, ballot printing by Adkins would cost $6,048, compared to the ES&S cost of $3,528, and in 2020, the next presidential election year, the cost would be $34,835 compared to $20,321, she said.
Over the eight-year period, Adkins’ ongoing costs would total $533,774 compared to ES&S costs of $501,382.
Thompson said ES&S equipment is more user-friendly and received higher scores from election judges who saw side-by-side demonstrations of the systems in June.
“The judges and voters will not see a huge difference in the voting process,” she said.
The county will receive 48 Express Polls tablets with camera/scanners, 29 touch screen machines and 12 optic scanners, she said, for “not much more” than the cost of equipment purchased seven years ago, which included only 20 touch screens. The old voting equipment is being traded in.
Thompson said 35 to 45 percent of county voters cast ballots electronically. The Adkins system requires a judge to enter a code following a “convoluted process,” she said. With the ES&S system, voters will receive an actual, uniquely coded ballot, she said. The screen “looks exactly like what we have now,” but after voting, voters will print out the ballot.
“They can look at it and see if that’s what they want,” she said. When satisfied, voters can cast the ballot “as any other ballot,” Thompson said. One machine will replace four that tabulate votes, she said. To set up the machines, judges “just turn them on,” she said. “It’s a smoother set up and pack up,” Thompson said.
Judges will train to use the new equipment March 23. Voters who want to see the new equipment may attend the public test a week later.