Douglas County commissioners gave their official approval Wednesday night for the purchase of new voting equipment.
The new equipment will accept paper ballots marked by voters and electronically scan those ballots.
The voters will be alerted if they have mismarked their ballot in some way and will be able to correct it. People with disabilities also will be able to use special equipment to cast votes.
The equipment is needed to bring the county into compliance with the federal Help America Vote Act.
The cost of the equipment is $820,880 and will be purchased from Election Systems & Software Inc. in Omaha, Neb. The federal government is providing $460,850 for the purchase. Over the past few years the county has been setting aside money in a reserve fund to cover the remainder of the cost.
Commissioners Charles Jones, Bob Johnson and Jere McElhaney also approved a "memorandum of understanding" with the city of Lecompton, Jefferson County and the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks. The document outlines the responsibilities each entity has in maintaining the Lecompton boat ramp, which opened last summer on the north side of the Kansas River just to the west of the Lecompton river bridge.
In other business:
¢ Commissioners directed County Engineer Keith Browning to come up with some standards and cost feasibilities for determining when or how the county would accept maintenance of paved roads in new rural township subdivisions. The standards would be applied if the county were asked to handle such a road because the township didn't have the equipment to do it.
¢ Commissioners suggested additional wording changes to a draft of subdivision regulations with Lawrence-Douglas County Planning Director Linda Finger. A new draft should be ready in two to three weeks.
County clerk to discuss new voting machines
If you've got questions about a new electronic voting system that Douglas County will use in next year's elections, you can ask them this afternoon on the Journal-World's Web site. Douglas County Clerk Jamie Shew, the county's chief election officer, will respond to questions during an online chat that begins at 2 p.m. today on www.ljworld.com.(Submit a question early.) Shew recommended and the County Commission approved Wednesday to continue to rely on paper ballots, but also purchase roughly $820,880 in new equipment to count the ballots in a manner that will comply with federal laws. Readers may submit questions early or during the chat. A running transcript will be available during the chat and will remain posted following the chat.