COUNTY OF ALBEMARLE

 

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 

 

AGENDA TITLE:

FY 2007 Appropriation to Purchase Voting Machines

 

SUBJECT/PROPOSAL/REQUEST:

Approval of Appropriation #2007086 for $38,070 for the purchase of six voting machines

 

STAFF CONTACT(S):

Tucker, Foley, Davis, Washburne, Breeden

 

LEGAL REVIEW:   Yes

 

AGENDA DATE:

June 6, 2007

 

ACTION:     X                       INFORMATION:   

 

CONSENT AGENDA:

     ACTION:                          INFORMATION:   

 

ATTACHMENTS:   Yes

 

REVIEWED BY:

 

 

BACKGROUND:

During its 2007 session, the General Assembly adopted a law prohibiting localities from purchasing direct recording electronic voting machines (DREs) after June 30, 2007. The law provides for the phase-out of DREs as those currently in operation wear out, and for the phase-in of optical scan voting machines.

 

STRATEGIC PLAN:

Goal 5: Develop a comprehensive strategy/plan for funding future needs

 

DISCUSSION:

The election laws require a minimum number of voting machines that must be available for use in each precinct and also limits the maximum population of an electoral precinct. The practical effect of these two provisions is to require localities to keep a certain number of voting machines operational at all times and to add to their total inventory of voting machines as the population increases. The Department of Voter Registration and Elections has found that in heavy turnout elections, it is best to have more than the minimum number of voting machines available for use.

 

Currently, the County has an inventory of 97 voting machines. All but one of these machines are DREs. In the November, 2006 general election, 94 of the 97 machines were used. The other three were out of service. As a result, the Registrar believes there is an insufficient number of back-up voting machines for a major election.

 

In order to have enough DRE machines to meet the projected number of machines needed for the 2008 presidential election, the Electoral Board has determined that six additional DREs will be needed to accommodate the increase in the County population and the potential breakdown of some existing machines. While the current long-term plan is to phase in the optical scan machines, the Electoral Board did not feel that doing so would be wise at this time, as it would result in different machines being used in different precincts in the 2008 presidential election. In addition, the optical scan machines do not appear to be in compliance with the accessibility requirements of the federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA). Finally, there is pending federal legislation which may alter the recent Virginia voting machine legislation. HB 811 in its current form would require that all voting machines used in federal elections produce a verified paper audit trail; however, it does not mandate the use of optical scan machines.

 

BUDGET IMPACT:

To purchase six additional DRE voting machines before the end of FY 06/07, an appropriation of $38,070 is needed.  The State Board of Elections advises that $ 31,725 of this cost will be reimbursable under HAVA, although not until FY 07/08.

The County’s actual cost for the purchase of six machines will be $6,345.  As a result of purchasing machines in the current fiscal year, two voting machines originally planned in the coming fiscal year will not be necessary.  Contracts for the purchase of the six voting machines must be completed by June 30, 2007, because of the mandates of the new state legislation effective July 1, 2007.  The FY 07/08 budget will be adjusted if the requested appropriation is approved.

 

RECOMMENDATIONS:

Staff recommends that the Board approve the purchase of six DRE voting machines in FY 06/07 and approve the attached Appropriation # 2007086.

 

ATTACHMENT:

A – Appropriation # 2007086

B – Memorandum to Board of Supervisors from the County Registrar
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