County Board Considers New Election Equipment

Bond County Board members take in a demonstration of new voting equipment.

In their meeting this week, the Bond County Board heard from two representatives of Liberty Systems, the company that provides and services the county’s election equipment. Board members were provided a demonstration of a few new equipment options.

County Clerk Meg Sybert told WGEL it’s time for the county to upgrade its election equipment, which is almost 20 years old. She said new equipment is more cyber security-focused. The current equipment has been experiencing age-related technical issues that election personnel must compensate for. She said paper ballots ensure election counts are accurate, card failures and equipment failures slow things down and create other issues. In addition to more security, new equipment would provide more stability.

Click below to hear her comments:

Sybert emphasized that accuracy is not the issue. She said when cards fail, it creates a very long day for election judges who must stay in place late into the night and re-run ballots. She said election judges do receive a small stipend, but could almost be considered volunteers.

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The county received federal funding to purchase its current equipment. Sybert said there have been rumors of federal funds being made available, so it is possible the county would be reimbursed for new equipment expenditures.

The cost to the county to lease new equipment would be $8,600 per quarter. A purchase option involving financing is available, but Sybert said she would rather lease the equipment so it could be upgraded when technology updates to avoid being in the current situation again with outdated equipment.

She hopes to include the equipment in next year’s budget and have the equipment in place for the large voter turnout expected in the 2020 federal election.

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