The fee that local entities pay the county for use of election machines is proposed to rise from $300 to $350 next year, County Clerk Debbie Door said this week.
The $350 per machine rental cost would be divided among the entities that have an issue on the ballot. The cost to the different entities is pro-rated based on the number of registered voters.
Cities and taxing districts share in the cost of elections, including machine rental, when they have an issue on the ballot.
The rental fees go into the county clerk’s Help America Vote Act fund, which helps pay for maintenance and replacement of election equipment.
Door said the fee is proposed to go up so the county can keep up with the expense of replacing and maintaining its election equipment.
The county last month purchased 57 optical scanners and 57 touch-screen voting machines, software and services for $414,322. The new equipment was needed to replace outdated machines, Door said.
The money to pay for the equipment will come from the HAVA fund, the election services fund, contractual services fund and state funding could possibly help.
The county is financing the purchase with no interest, and it should be paid off by 2015.
Door noted that a small amount of money from the county’s general fund may have to help pay for the equipment up front. But if that happens she said she will eventually reimburse the general fund from her elections services fund and HAVA fund once those sources get built back up.
The elections services fund gets its money from a fee the county charges entities for conducting elections.
She said the state Legislature next year may approve funds to help buy new election equipment. If that happens, the county could be reimbursed some of the cost of its new equipment, Door noted.
Next year, the county will have at least three elections — April, August and November.