Last month, Ohio Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner released the results of a study that found “critical security failures” in electronic voting machines used in the state.
Brunner suggested ditching the new touch-screen voting machines used in many Ohio counties and switching to an optical scan system that uses paper ballots.
When the Fulton County commissioners visited the Fayette village council meeting Thursday, they made it clear they had no intention of replacing the county’s Diebold touch-screen machines.
“We have full confidence in our voting machines,” Dean Genter said.
He said about half a million dollars was spent updating to the existing system and another $450,000 would be needed to make the change to an optical scan system. Genter said commissioners are not going to spend any county funds on making a change.
Genter told councilors that anyone wanting to vote by paper ballot can request an absentee ballot.
“Honestly, Fulton County is a model for the whole state of Ohio,” commissioner Joe Short said. “Other counties don’t have a clue of how to operate the equipment. It appears to us that [Brunner’s response] is a fiasco.”
Short said voting problems from the 2004 election arose in counties to the east.
The federally funded $1.9 million study of the state’s voting machines involved two teams of scientists conducting parallel assessments of the state’s three voting systems, including Diebold machines—now known as Premier Election Solutions.
“To put it in everyday terms, the tools needed to compromise an accurate vote count could be as simple as tampering with the paper audit trail connector or using a magnet and a personal digital assistant,” Brunner said in a press release about the study.
Overall, the study identified numerous risks to election integrity ranging from minor to severe, according to the review.
A bipartisan team of 12 election board directors and deputy directors advised the study, evaluated all reports and participated with the secretary in making recommendations for change.
Genter said the commission’s decision against replacing voting machines has the full support of the area’s two state legislators. The secretary of state doesn’t make the laws, he said, and commissioners will abide by legislators’ decisions.