After months of debating options, the Miami County Board of Elections voted 3-1 Tuesday to buy a paper ballot and scanning voting system to replace the touch-screen system in use since 2006.
The new system could be in use by the May election.
The vote came during a meeting to discuss the November election when 6,288 early voting ballots went uncounted. The board fired Director Beverly Kendall on Tuesday and said it would investigate.
The Ohio Secretary of State said Tuesday night he was launching an investigation. Frank LaRose said the “failure by the Miami County Board of Elections is unacceptable.”
Elections board members debated a new voting system for months, deadlocking in 2-2 vote in December between Clear Ballot’s paper ballot and scanning system and Election Systems and Software’s hybrid system touch-screen system, which marks ballots that then are printed and scanned.
An analysis of proposals presented in December by board member Audrey Gillespie showed a cost difference of around $1 million between the systems: $1.877 million for the hybrid and $860,000 for the full paper system.
The state has allocated $1,096,490 to the county for a new system.
Board member Rob Long said Tuesday he had “lost confidence in the touch screens with the problems.”
Board member Ryan King said he didn’t consider the November issue a related situation. Paper ballots also would be tallied by machine, “so it does not solve that problem we experienced,” he said.
Chairman Dave Fisher said the new paper systems are more advanced than optical scan systems of the past.
“This is a 20-year system,” he said.
Long said he wanted to see the new equipment in use by the May election. The board voted to approve the immediate purchase of the Clear Ballot system. Long, Gillespie and Fisher voted for the paper system, while King voted “no.”