May 21, 2007 - Solano may spend $570,000 for new voting equipment
Paper: Davis Enterprise, The (CA)
Title: Solano may spend $570,000 for new voting equipment
Date: May 21, 2007
FAIRFIELD — Facing an unusually busy election season, new accountability laws and a trend toward absentee voting, elections officials are bringing in some help.
On Tuesday, the Solano County Board of Supervisors will weigh a proposal to buy more than a half-million dollars' worth of the new equipment, which elections officials say is necessary for them to comply with laws and keep up with three major elections.
Lawmakers voted earlier this year to move the state's presidential primary up to February 2008, in hopes of giving California more of a say in picking the candidates.
It also will create a squeeze in the county election office, which has to deal with city council and school board elections in November and the rest of the legislative primaries in June 2008.
"The overlapping election preparation cycles ... necessitate a more efficient method of processing our workload," wrote Registrar of Voters Ira Rosenthal in a report to the Board of Supervisors. "With only 90 days between the November 2007 and February 2008 elections and only 119 between the February and June 2008 elections, operational speed, ballot security and reliability of data capture are essential."
The extra work centers on absentee voting, which has become increasingly common in Solano County. Rosenthal said the county has roughly 50,000 regular absentee voters, double the number it had in 2004.
New laws require that absentee ballots be sorted by precincts and that they are able to be included in any hand recounts, Rosenthal said.
"That's 50,000 or so pieces of paper that need to be sorted and doing that manually is just too burdensome," he said.
Altogether, supervisors are being asked to approve nearly $570,000 of new vote-processing equipment. Rosenthal said the state would likely reimburse Solano County for the expenses.
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Author: Ben Antonius McNaughton Newspapers
Copyright, 2007, The Davis Enterprise. All Rights Reserved.