2/16/2018 1:04:00 PM Poll equipment grant helps to
The Chisago County Board heard last week that the county has been awarded about $43,000 from the MN Secretary of State office, to somewhat reduce costs for purchasing new voting equipment. (See Press story Jan 4.) The county planned for this funding being dispersed and held one preliminary training for election judges, just before the New Year. Once the devices arrive county staff will hold additional sessions for hands-on practice. It is not anticipated the new equipment will be in-use at township elections in March, however.
Deputy County Auditor Bridgitte Konrad and Auditor Dennis Freed got a unanimous vote from the commissioners to finalize the purchase agreements for new counters, assistive voting units and poll pads-- which are used for voter registration. The digital devices will bring Chisago County into the next age of casting ballots. Expenditures will come to about $423,000.
The new devices are much smaller and lighter-weight, a plus for officials who set-up and teardown equipment at precincts, haul boxes of paper ballots and transport machines back to the government center, and also have to find storage for over 20 precincts’ worth of equipment. The commissioners were told the two companies awarded the new equipment bids are disposing of all the old equipment for the county. Implementation of the updated voting equipment is budgeted.
Know-Ink is providing the I-pad registration devices and Hart Inter-Civic is supplying counters and handicap-accessible devices that even have capability of reading a ballot aloud for the blind. This is a closed system for now there is no electronitc transfer of data required. There are advanced systems which can transmit voting data to remote endpoints, but Chisago County is not opting for that at this time. Election judges are still going to make the trek at the end of their polling day to the central election data collection at the auditor’s offices in Center City.