COLUMBUS— The Senate concurred today on House changes to Senate Bill 135, legislation sponsored by State Senator Frank LaRose
(R-Hudson). This bill provides funding to assist counties in upgrading their outdated voting equipment.
“I’m thankful that our colleagues in the House gave prompt attention to our bill and I’m proud it passed and with broad bipartisan support,” said LaRose. “Voters must have confidence they are casting their ballot on a reliable and accurate voting machine. This is why it was so important for us to be proactive in addressing this issue.”
Counties will be given a fixed amount based on the number of registered voters to help with the startup costs that are associated with buying new machines. The main portion of the funds are then distributed proportionally based on the percentage of registered voters in each county.
Of the $114.5 million allocated for Ohio's next generation of voting machines, $10 million will be general revenue funding for reimbursement of counties which have already purchased new machines. The remaining funds will then be used to help counties who will be purchasing machines in the future.
Senate Bill 135 requires the establishment of a bipartisan advisory committee tasked with providing input throughout the process. The bill also provides that steps will be taken throughout the entire process to ensure transparency.
Senator LaRose's proposal is the product of months of collaboration between various groups, including the Office of the Secretary of State, as well as the Ohio County Commissioner's Association and Ohio Association of Elections Officials. The Secretary of State and Department of Administrative Services are the agencies accountable for negotiating costs and administering the entire procurement process for these new machines.
Senate Bill 135 will now move to the Governor for further consideration.